Back to Back Podiums for Van Avermaet in Canada9. September 2018, Montreal (CAN) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet settled for third place at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, after finishing in second place in Quebec on Friday, to round out a successful weekend at the Canadian one-day races.
Van Avermaet was positioned well on the finish straight but was forced to slow his sprint with 100 meters to go, eventually crossing the line behind Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).
Earlier in the race, five riders formed the breakaway on the second of sixteen laps of the 12.2 kilometer course and were allowed to go almost six minutes clear of the peloton.
BMC Racing Team set the tempo in the peloton, alongside Team Sunweb, and slowly brought the breakaway’s advantage down to four minutes with five laps remaining, at which point the breakaway was down to four riders.
The action started to heat up with three laps to go, when the gap to the breakaway was down to two minutes, when Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) was the first rider to attack from the peloton.
Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Merida) and Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) bridged and passed Wellens, before going on to catch the breakaway, and as the race entered the final 25km, more attacks were coming from the bunch.
Van Avermaet still had a strong team around him in the peloton, which was 30 seconds behind the newly-formed breakaway, with two laps remaining when Simon Gerrans took to the front of the bunch to pull them back.
On the last lap, it was attack after attack and on the final ascent of the Côte Camillien-Houde, Wellens, Jacob Fulgsang (Astana Pro Team), and James Knox (Quick-Step Floors) went clear with a 15-second advantage inside the final ten kilometers.
The chase was on from behind, at which point Damiano Caruso bridged back to Van Avermaet, and the group came back together again with four kilometers to go.
Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) was the last rider to try an attack to avoid a bunch sprint but Caruso put in an impressive ride behind to pull him back just before the flamme rouge.
Van Avermaet was sitting in the first six riders under the flamme rouge and with 500 meters to go, made the last turn on the outside before jumping onto Colbrelli’s wheel.
Colbrelli launched his sprint from far out and Van Avermaet maintained his position in the wheel but was forced to brake when Matthews jumped on Colbrelli’s wheel in the final 100 meters.
Van Avermaet had to settle for third place which marks his second podium in Montreal, and eight in total at the Canadian races.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“The team did great work so I’m just a bit frustrated that I had to stop my sprint with 100 meters to go because Matthews came from the right side to the left to get into the slipstream of Colbrelli, where I was, so I had to stop my sprint. I gave everything and Colbrelli went from far so he slowed down, so I think if I could have kept on sprinting then I could have also been second or first. That’s frustrating because you do the whole race waiting for the sprint and when you can’t give it all then it’s disappointing."
“It was a super hard race and I think we did a good job to control the race and make it favourable for a sprint. Everything was basically perfect until the last hundred meters. I’m not going to say I would have definitely won but I think second was possible and maybe the win. I can have a long sprint and with the headwind I think it would have been possible to pass Colbrelli, like Matthews did.”
“I still need to do some work to get ready for the Worlds because the parcours is different. My head was in these races so from tomorrow I start to think about the worlds.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal
Montreal > Montreal (195km)
Top 3: 1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), 2. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), 3. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 3. Greg Van Avermaet, 26. Damiano Caruso, 50. Michael Schär