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Launching a perfectly timed sprint on the uphill finishing straight, Gerrans managed to pass Dumoulin just before the line to take his second win the GP Quebec

Photo: Sirotti

GRAND PRIX QUEBEC

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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RAMUNAS NAVARDAUSKAS

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NEWS

SIMON GERRANS

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TOM DUMOULIN

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12.09.2014 @ 22:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) proved that he is one of the favourites for the World Championships when he took his second victory in the Grand Prix Quebec in impressive fashion. The Australian launched a long, perfectly timed sprint on the uphill finishing straight to pass Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) just before the line while Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) was a very distant third.

 

In 2012 Simon Gerrans put his name high on the list of favourites for the World Championships when he won the GP Quebec just weeks before the battle for the rainbow jersey. Today he repeated that feat in impressive fashion when he came back from a late puncture to take his second win in the hilly race.

 

After a very strong break had taken off in the finale, things came back together for the final three climbs that preceded the uphill finishing straight. Knowing that he would be among the fastest in a sprint, Gerrans used his teammate Jens Keukeleire to set a high speed but things came slightly out of control when Jelle Vanendert (Lotto), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Petr Vakoc (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) escaped on the penultimate ascent.

 

Strong teamwork by Michael Albasini and Pieter Weening brought the trio back just after the passage of the red kite but Gerrans was now isolated when Tom Dumoulin launched a very strong attack. While the in-form Dutchman got a big gap, the Australian bided his time, waiting for the right time to strike.

 

Seeing Dumoulin building a bigger advantage, Gerrans knew that he had to launch his sprint very early. However, his powerful acceleration quickly distanced the rest of the peloton and it was now evident that it was a two-rider battle.

 

Dumoulin did his best to hold off Gerrans but as he started to fade, he was no match against the Australian champion. Gerrans timed the catch perfectly and had time to sit up to celebrate his victory while a disappointed Dumoulin rolled across the line to take second.

 

Further back, the rest of the peloton sprinted for third and here Ramunas Navarduaskas narrowly held off Gerrans’ teammate Daryl Impey and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) to complete the podium.

 

On Sunday, Gerrans gets a chance to be the first rider to make the double in the Canadian WorldTour races when he lines up as the favourite for the GP Montreal. The second leg of the doubleheader has a harder course and we can expect climbers to mix it up with puncheurs in the battle for another big WorldTour win.

 

A modified course

The fifth edition of the GP de Quebec took place on a slightly modified course as the well-known circuit had been extended to include more flat sections. The 18.1km circuit was flat for the first 14km but in the finale, the riders went up three small climbs before they hit the uphill drag to the finish line which had an average gradient of 4%. The riders did 11 laps of the circuit for a total distance of 199.1km.

 

The riders took the start under a cloudy sky and they got the race off to a very fast opening phase. Dennis Van Winder (Belkin) launched an immediate attack and he was joined by Eros Capecchi (Movistar), Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Laurent Didier (Trek) to form a dangerous group. However, that move was too big and was brought back after 6km of racing.

 

The break is formed

The aggressive racing continued but the riders got to the 14km mark before the elastic finally snapped. Again Polanc and Van Winden were part of the action and they were joined by Moreno Moser (Cannondale) and Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar).

 

The quartet started to build an advantage as the peloton slowed down. At the end of the first lap, they were 1.38 ahead.

 

Orica take control

Joe Dombrowski (Sky) was the first rider to leave the race while the escapees continued to extend the gap. As they started to climb the main climb for the second time, they were 8 minutes ahead and as they crossed the finish line, the advantage was 9.10.

 

This was the signal for Orica-GreenEDGE and Garmin-Sharp to start the chase but at the 45km mark, the escapees had extended their advantage to 10.42. This was as much as they would get and at the end of the third lap, the gap was down to less than 10 minutes.

 

BMC and Orica lead the chase

With BMC and Orica as the driving forces, the peloton started to get closer to the escapees and at the 68km mark, they had already brought it down to 5.55. That was a bit too fast for the peloton and at the end of the fourth lap, the gap was back up to 7.40.

 

Peter Stetina (BMC) and Christian Meier (Orica) again tightened the screws as they clearly wanted to make the race hard. At the next passage of the line, the gap was 5.35 and the pace was very fast.

 

The break splits up

As a result, the peloton briefly split at the end of the sixth lap, with Tony Gallopin (Lotto) and Simon Geschke (Giant) being among the riders that had been caught out. Things came back together and while Stetina and Meier continued to ride on the front the fight for positon intensified.

 

With 68km to go, the gap was only 2 minutes and as riders continued to fight for position, the peloton had brought it down to 30 seconds with 56km to go. This was the signal for Arashiro to attack and while Polanc and Van Winden rejoined him, Moser fell back to the peloton.

 

Garmin hit the front

Garmin now wanted to make the race hard and Tom Danielson hit the front of the peloton on the climbs. As they crossed the line to start the 9th lap, it was all back together.

 

The fast pace had briefly split the peloton but when Garmin loosened their grip, Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) made a move. Stetina and Meier went back to work and as the Frenchman didn’t plan to make a solo attack, he decided to wait for the peloton.

 

A new break is formed

As they approached the climbs for the ninth time, FDJ hit the front with William Bonnet and Yoann Offredo and it was the latter that set the pace on the first climb. Valerio Agnoli (Astana) launched an attack but Sebastien Minard (Ag2r), Cristiano Salerno (Cannondale), Jonathan Hivert (Belkin), Quemeneur, Dennis Vanendert (Lotto) and several other responded.

 

When the group was brought back, Minard attacked again and he was joined by Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Nicki Sørensen (Tinkoff) and Kevin Reza (Europcar). Agnoli was the next to make the junction and they started the penultimate lap with a small advantage.

 

More riders bridge across

Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEDGE) also got across and finally Hivert, Navardauskas, Steele Von Hoff (Garmin), Rafael Valls (Lampre) and Michael Woods (Canada) made it an 11-rider group. With 30km to go, they were 30 seconds ahead and while Romain Bardet (Ag2r) worked hard to rejoin the peloton after a mechanical, FDJ started to chase with Bonnet and Arnaud Courteille.

 

Lotto Belisol also committed Stig Broeckx, Gert Doeckx and Louis Vervaeke to the chase and as the FDJ riders blew up, all the work was left to the Belgians. While Katusha started to position themselves, the Belgian team kept the gap at around 30 seconds.

 

Puncture for Gerrans

On the first climb, Jurgen Roelandts set Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) up for an attack and together with the OPQS duo of Jan Bakelants and Matteo Trentin and Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) he bridged the gap. At this point, Gerrans was hit by an untimely puncture but he managed to rejoin the peloton after a hard chase.

 

Egor Silin (Katusha) tried to bridge the gap but he was brought back by Giant-Shimano who had started to chase. As they started the final laps, Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) launched a short-lived attack but he had not chance as Europcar, FDJ, Sky and Katusha were now chasing, with Pierrick Fedrigo, Danny Pate, Geraint Thomas and Silin among the workers.

 

The break is caught

With 12km to go, the gap was just 12 seconds and now Cannondale took over. Jean-Marc Marino did a huge work and as he got some assistance from Pate and finally a Lampre rider, the group was brought back 7km from the line.

 

Agnoli and Woods made one final desperate attempt but they had no chance against the peloton that was going at full speed. Tom Leezer took a turn for Belkin but it was Manuele Mori who hit the first climb in front, setting Rui Costa up for an attack.

 

Vanendert attacks

Keukeire, Gerrans, Sep Vanmarcke, Francesco Gavazzi, Van Avermaet were glued to his wheel and instead, Keukeleire started to ride tempo on the front. At the bottom of the next climb, David Tanner (Belkin) and Vakoc attacked but they were passed by a very strong Vanendert.

 

Just before the flamme rouge, van Garderen and Vakoc joined Vanendert while Davide Formolo (Cannondale) was leading the chase. Weening and Albasini took over and they brought the group back on the finishing straight. That’s when Dumoulin made his move but he had to settle for second behind an outstanding Gerrans.

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