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Dutchman takes surprise sprint win from select group at the end of aggressive race while big favourite Sagan runs out of power on the uphill finishing straight and finishes outside the top 10

Photo: GP Cycliste de Quebec






13.09.2013 @ 22:17 Posted by Frederik Palle Pedersen

Robert Gesink (Belkin) became a hugely surprising winner of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec when the Dutchman showed a hidden sprinting talent when he beat a select front group on the tough uphill finishing straight in the Canadian city. A long powerful sprint relegated Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) to the minor places while big favourite Peter Sagan (Cannondale) ran out of power in the sprint and finished outside the top 10.


Robert Gesink is known as a pure climber and has probably never won a sprint in his life until today. However, he defied expectations when the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec came to down to a sprint from a select group on the uphill finishing straight.


With Peter Sagan present, all odds were on the major favourite and the Slovakian was well-placed when Gesink launched a long sprint, apparently leading out teammate Tom-Jelte Slagter. Sagan tried to respond to his powerful move but quickly realized that there was nothing left and stopped sprinting 100m from the line.


Gesink kept his speed, probably expecting other riders to come around but that never happened. Instead, Arthur Vichot had to dig deep just to stay on the Dutchman's wheel while Greg  Van Avermaet did a good sprint to take third, the Belgian having been placed on Sagan's wheel.


The win puts a disappointing back on track for Gesink who failed to live up to expectations in the Giro d'Italia. He showed improving condition in the Tour of Alberta and has now marked himself out as a dark horse for the world championships.


Before the battle for the rainbow jersey takes place, Gesink well line up in Sunday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal which has an even tougher course and the same star-studded line-up. Starting at 18.30 CEST you can follow the race on


A perfect worlds preparation

The 201,6km WorldTour race was held on a hilly 12,6km circuit in Quebec that was to be completed 16 times. A number of climbs and a 4% uphill finishing straight made it the perfect preparation for the world championships.


On the second lap, Tiago Machado (Radioshack), Peio Bilbao (Euskaltel) and Valerio Agnoli (Astana) escaped and they were allowed to build up a gap of 6 minutes. However, Cannondale had big plans for Sagan and so they started to chase.


Movistar and Cannondale chase

They were joined by Movistar who had faith in Rui Costa. For a long time, Guilliame Boivin (Cannondale), Brian Vandborg (Cannondale) and Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar) swapped turns on the front and the gap started to come down.


With 100km to go, Cobo disappeared from the front and instead his teammate Francisco Ventoso took over his job. With 93km to go, the gap had already come down to 2.45 and everything was firmly under control.


BMC on the attack

With 74km to go, the riders started their 11th lap and now BMC wanted to put Cannondale under pressure. The American team launched Steve Morabito, Amael Moinard and Tejay van Garderen up the road and they were joined by Jesus Herrada (Movistar).


Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Jack Bobridge (Belkin) bridged across while another Belkin rider never managed to make the junction. Behind, attacks kept flying from the peloton and Lampre decided to help Cannondale who tried to keep things under control.


Cannondale try to stay in control

Cannondale changed tactics when Fabio Aru (Astana) attacked and let Damiano Caruso join the move. Blel Kadri (Ag2r) and Maurits Lammertink (Vacansolei) were also there but Cannondale continued their chase work in the peloton. As Caruso refused to do any work, there was no cohesion and so the group was brought back.


Michel Koch and Ted King now brought things under control for Cannondale and they didn't react when Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil) attacked on a climb. He was joined by Peter Velits (Omega Pahrma-Quick Step) but then Adriano Malori (Lampre) and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) upped the tempo, the duo was reeled.


The front groups merge

The BMC group reached the front trio and Agnoli and Bilbao were quickly dropped and swallowed up by the peloton. For a long time Cannondale and Lampre kept the gap stable at around 30 seconds.


When the peloton hit the hilly zone, Saxo-Tinkoff upped the pace, Bruno Pires setting a fierce pace on the front. Vorganov fell off the pace in the peloton and so Katusha joined Saxo-Tinkoff on the front of the main group.


New attacks

Yoann Offredo (FDJ) launched a brief short-lived attack while Cannondale and Lampre once again took care of the pace-setting duties. With 42km to go, Danny Van Poppel (Vacansoleil) hit the front and closed the final slight gap.


Van Poppel set up Marco Marcato for an attack and he was joined by Offredo and Daniel Oss (BMC). The latter briefly rode away from his companions but decided to wait. Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Sergei Chernetskiy (Katusha) bridged across and the 5 riders cooperated well while De Marchi led the chase for Cannondale.


More riders bridge across

George Bennett (Radioshack) launched a fruitless attack from the peloton but the countermove by Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil) and Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) was more successful. Those two riders bridged across to make it a 7-rider front group.


Sagan still had Koch, Caruso, De Marchi and King to support him and they took control of the chase. When they hit the hilly zone for the 13th time, Belkin moved ahead, Paul Martens setting a fierce pace that closed a big part if the gap.


Bennett on his own

Offredo and Marcato fell back into the peloton while Cannondale decided to play a surprise card by launching Caruso up the road. The Italian didn't get much leeway and instead it was Bennett who bridged across to the leaders.


The gap was now quickly vanishing and so the New Zealander set off on his own. Thurau attacked in pursuit while the remainder of the break was caught.


BMC start to chase

BMC now changed strategy and combined forces with Cannondale in the chase. De Marchi, Oss and Marcus Burghardt swapped turns on the front and caught Thurau.


When they approached the hills for the penultimate time, Bert-Jan Lindeman upped the pace for Vacansoleil and that spelled the end for Belkin. In the fierce battle for position, it was Argos-Shimano who led the peloton onto the first climb


Hesjedal shows the colours

Local hero Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) attacked and got company from Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha), Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil), Viatcheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha) and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). The latter sped down the descent and suddenly opened up a gap while Kuznetsov set off in pursuit.


The Russian was joined by Selvaggi while the remainder of the break was caught. Richie Porte (Sky) set the pace in the peloton which caught the chasing duo as they started the final lap.


A big gap for Terpstra

Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) set off in pursuit and when Porte stopped his work, the peloton came to a standstill. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Hesjedal both made attacks but when Velits and Brent Bookwalter (BMC) joined the latter, he got nowhere.


Terpstra was now 35 seconds ahead with just 6km remaining. Lampre started to chase with Damiano Cunego and were joined by Kristijan Koren (Cannondale). They caught Nordhaug but Omega Pharma-Quick Step did a good job to disrupt their work.


Sky start to chase

Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEDGE) attacked but when he was joined by Terpstra's teammate Devenyns, it came to nothing. Instead, Sky hit the front with Geraint Thomas and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke and this was enough for the gap to start to come down.


When they hit the climb, Chris Froome tried to launch an attack but had no success. Instead, Sagan accelerated and was joined by Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Simone Ponzi (Astana), Costa, Gesink and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre).


More riders bridge across

Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil), Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Bookwalter also got across and when the pace dropped, more riders joined the group.


Tony Gallopin (Radioshack) attacked with 1km to go but was quickly overtaken by Van Avermaet who launched a fierce acceleration. Sagan responded and those two riders caught Terpstra.


Gesink tries his hand

Gesink, Vichot and Simon Geschke (Argos) joined the trio and Gesink launched an immediate attack. Sagan quickly closed it down while Costa also joined the group. Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Fabian Wegmann (Garmin) led a group back up to the leaders.


Geschke and Terpstra made an attack and this time Sagan refused to respond. Instead, it was Costa who had to dig deep to bring things back together. That was when Gesink launched his lead-out that ended up landing him a surprise sprint win in Quebec.



1. Robert Gesink 4.58.13

2. Arthur Vichot

3. Greg Van Avermaet

4. Fabian Wegmann +0.01

5. Rui Costa

6. Niki Terpstra

7. Tom-Jelte Slagter +0.02

8. Matti Breschel +0.03

9. Simon Geschke +0.04



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