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In his first race since the Tour, Uran attacked just before the flamme rouge and as no one was strong enough to chase, he held off the favourites to win GP Quebec; Matthews and Kristoff completed the podium

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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GRAND PRIX QUEBEC

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MICHAEL MATTHEWS

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QUICK-STEP - ALPHA VINYL

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RIGOBERTO URAN

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11.09.2015 @ 22:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) created a major surprise when he won the Grand Prix de Quebec with a late solo attack. The Colombian made his move just before the flamme rouge and as only Silvan Dillier (BMC) tried to chase, he managed to hold off the favourites by the tiniest of margins. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) beat Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in the sprint for second.

 

Going into the Grand Prix Quebec, it was always evident that Etixx-QuickStep would be among the favourites. With both Julian Alaphilippe and Michal Kwiatkowski in the team, they had two great cards to play on the hilly course that has traditionally suited the Ardennes specialists.

 

The Belgian team lived up to expectations as they came away with the win but the winner was not the one that had been mentioned by most pundits. Instead, it was Rigoberto Uran who returned from a long break from racing by taking the biggest one-day win of his career in the Canadian WorldTour race.

 

As usual, the event was held on a 12.1km circuit that the riders would cover 16 times and it had been the usual aggressive affair when the peloton started the final lap. On the finishing straight, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) had taken off and as there was a small standstill in the peloton, they quickly got an advantage of 15 seconds.

 

While Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) were taken out by a crash, the attacking continued. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Silvan Dillier and Adam Yates were all in a small group that briefly got clear but it was Julien Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep), Yates, Dillier, Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r), Marc Soler (Movistar) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale) who got clear at the start of the final lap.

 

Fabio Felline, Tony Gallopin, Paul Moartens and several riders joined the move and so they were brought back. The peloton briefly hesitated and this allowed the gap to grow to 20 seconds.

 

BMC finally decided to take control with Brent Bookwalter taking a huge turn. Manuel Quinziato took over and he was joined by Magnus Cort (Orica-GreenEDGE) while Martens did his best to disrupt the chase.

 

With 5km to go, the gap was down to 10 seconds and BMC now took complete control with Michael Schär leading Quinziato, Dillier, Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet. Matteo Bono took a short turn for Lampre-Merida as the gap was now down to 10 seconds and moments later it was back together.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo and BMC sprinted for the front positions but it was Dillier who led Gilbert and Van Avermaet onto the first climb with 5km to go. Here the latter went full gas and only Kwiwatkowski could follow.

 

Adam Yates managed to join the duo before Gilbert led a 10-rider group with Robert Gesink and Matti Breschel back. However, the pace went down and so it was back together with 3km to go.

 

Dries Devenyns (IAM) and Jan Bakelants (Ag2r) immediately attacked and got a solid gap before FDJ started to chase. As they hit the next climb, Van Avermaet went again and this time it was Alaphilippe who followed.

 

At the top of the climb it all came back together but Alaphilippe was quick to attack again. However, Gesink brought him back with 1.5km to go.

 

Everybody seemed to be prepared for the sprint when Uran used a moment of hesitation to accelerate. Steve Morabito (FDJ) was on his wheel but when he was unable to follow, a gap opened.

 

Dillier started to chase hard but he constantly lost ground on the uphill finishing straight. This forced Bauke Mollema (Trek) to launch a long sprint. He went head-to-head with Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale) but it was too late. Uran held onto win the race with the tiniest of margins while Michael Matthews and Alexander Kristoff passed the two Dutchmen to complete the podium.

 

There will be a chance to get revenge on Sunday in the final race of the two-race series. The Grand Prix Montreal is another circuit race but with longer climbs it is more suited to climbers.

 

A hilly circuit

The 6th edition of the Grand Prix Quebec was held on the well-known 12.6km circuit that included three smaller climbs in the second part. In the finale, the riders faced an uphill drag to the line of more than one kilometre. They would do 16 laps for a total of 201.6km.

 

It was a great sunny day in Quebec when the riders gathered for the started. Right from the gun, Lieuwe Westra (Astana) launched the first attack and he was joined by William Clarke (Drapac) at the 2km mark. Another five riders made it across too and it even swelled to ten before it was brought back after 6km of racing.

 

The break is formed

The attacking continued when Ryan Roth and Adam De Vos (Canada) joined forces with Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18). Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Darren Lapthorne and Wouter Wippert (Drapac) also made the junction to make it a 6-rider break at the 10km mark.

 

De Vos won the first KOM sprint while the peloton slowed down. This gave Alexander Kristoff plenty of time to rejoin the peloton after a puncture and the gap had gone out to 2 minutes at the first passage of the finish line.

 

The gap grows

The gap was still growing and was already 5.25 at the 19km mark. Here De Vos again took the point on offer in the KOM sprint.

 

Four kilometres later, the gap had gone out to 7.10 and it was 8.40 at the 28km mark. Moments later Wippert scored the point in the KOM sprint at a point when the gap was 9.10.

 

Trek and BMC take control

It was still 8.55 at the end of the third lap but now the chase got organized. Loic Vliegen (BMC) and Marco Coledan (Trek) hit the front of the peloton and they started to slowly bring the break back. It was down to 8.20 at the 40km mark where De Vos won the next KOM sprint.

 

At the end of the fourth lap, the gap was 7.35 and the fifth lap offered more of the same. De Vos took the KOM point while Coledan and Vliegen kept the gap at around 7.45. However, the lap ended the day for Wippert who punctured out of the break and after a long solo chase he would ultimately be caught.

 

More KOM points for De Vos

De Vos was first at the top of the climb on the sixth lap at the end of which Coledan and Vliegen had reduced the gap to 6.10. There were no changes in lap 7 that offered another point for De Vos and a gap that was now down to 4.55 at the end.

 

De Vos was allowed to take the pint on the 8th lap too at the end of which the gap was 4.10 and it was the same on lap 9 where the Canadian won the KOM sprint and the gap came down to 3.05. Meanwhile, Wippert abandoned the race.

 

Woods goes down

De Vos also won the KOM sprint on the 10th lap while Vliegen ended his work, leaving it to Coledan to lead the peloton onto the next lap, 1.50 behind the leaders. The fight for position was slowly starting but the Italian was getting no held.

 

The gap stayed around 2 minutes for a while. At the same time, Mike Woods (Canada) was taken out by a crash.

 

Ag2r take control

AS they hit the climb again, Lapthorne was dropped before De Vos picked up the KOM points. Now it was also time for Lampre-Merida to make things hard as Davide Cimolai hit the front but as he quickly disappeared, the pace briefly went down.

 

Ag2r took control with Sebastien Turgot who was soon joined by teammates Axel Domont and Julien Berard. Further up the road, Benedetti took off in a solo move and Quemeneur cracked completely.

 

The attacking starts

Roth managed to rejoin the Italian before he started the next lap but the Italian had won the KOM sprint. Meanwhile, BMC started the attacking when Dillier too off with 53km to go. He was joined by Philip Deignan (Sky) and Christopher Juul (Tinkoff) and later Vermote, Warren Barguil and Berard also made the junction.

 

Tony Gallopin chased hard to get back after a puncture while Vermote tried to go again when his group was caught. Juul, Christian Meier, Dillier and Fuglsang were all part of a small group that got clear but it was Alaphilippe who rode on the front of the peloton when they started the 13th lap.

 

Boaro gets clear

Finally, a rider was able to make a difference when Mauele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) too off. He got a big gap before Enrique Sanz, Berard and Lars Bak restarted the attacking in the peloton. However, that trio was brought back by the peloton which was now just 40 seconds behind and had caught Quemenur and De Vos.

 

The pace went down until Lampre-Merida hit the front with Roberto Ferrari. At this point, Boaro was 35 seconds behind the leaders while the peloton was at 55 seconds.

 

Bak and Kuznetsov take off

Cimolai took over the pace-setting while Roth won the next KOM sprint. This was enough to bring Boaro back and the Italian started to set the pace.

 

As they started the 14th lap, the attacking started again, with Bak and Viacheslav Kuznetsov taking off. Thomas Voeckler tried to join the move but never made.

 

A front quartet

Bak and Kuznetsov caught the front dup with 30km to go. 25 seconds back BMC had stopped the attacking as they had put Daniel Oss on the front and he brought the gap down to 15 seconds before they hit the first climb. Benedetti was dropped and brought back.

 

Rein Taaramae attacked on the climb and was joined by Bookwalter. A group with Fabio Felline, Warren Barguil, Roman Kreuziger, Jurgen Roelandts, Dillier and Romain Bardet took off in pursuit after Bak had won the KOM sprint.

 

A strong group

Just after the start of the penultimate lap, Taaramae and Bookwalter joined the leaders and later the chase group also made it across. Hence, it was a 12-rider group that had formed. Gilbert, Mathias Frank, Jonathan Castroviejo and Simon Geschke tried to join them but never made it.

 

Cannondale started to chase hard with Ramunas Navardaskas and when he swung off Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ) and the Orica-GreenEDGE pair of Meier and Michael Lbasini took over. IAM also came to the fore with Jonathan fumeaux.

 

Lots of attacks

The gap went out to 15 seconds but with 18km to go, it was back together for the first time since lap 1. Juul hit the front for Tinkoff-Saxo but it was Kwiatkowski, Bakelants and Bardet who tried to attack on the first climb.

 

Bardet, Alaphilippe and Alexey Lutsenko got an advantage and were joined by Oss and Lars Petter Nordhaug. Lutsenko managed to win the KOM sprint before the group was brought back. That’s when Fuglsang and Kelderman took off and they used a hesitation to get a gap before they started the exciting final lap.

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