Van Avermaet Demonstrates Consistency with Third Consecutive Podium at GP Cycliste de Quebec7. September 2018, Quebec (CAN) — Road Team
The top step of the podium at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec continued to provide elusive for Greg Van Avermaet, who today claimed second place at the race for the third consecutive year.
Attacks started as soon as the peloton rolled out for 16 laps of the 12.6 kilometer course and immediately five riders went clear.
The peloton, evidently happy with the formation of the breakaway, sat up and allowed the group to go six minutes down the road.
With Van Avermaet as one of the pre-race favorites, BMC Racing Team hit the front of the peloton to control the race and allowed the breakaway to maintain their six-minute advantage for the first 100 kilometers of the 201.6km kilometer course.
Team Sunweb and Astana Pro Team contributed to the chase and with five laps remaining, the peloton started to pick up the pace to bring the breakaway back.
The breakaway’s advantage had been halved to three minutes with four laps to go and by the time they passed the finish line for the last two laps, the breakaway had split and Pete Kennaugh (Bora-hansgrohe) launched the first attack from the bunch.
Kennaugh passed under the finish line on the bell lap with a narrow advantage while behind, Michael Schär hit the front of the peloton to bring back a six-rider chase group that has established between Kennaugh and the bunch.
On the last lap, Kennaugh managed to hold a 20-second lead until the final two kilometers when the favorites started to close in at the top of the climb and had him in their sights.
Van Avermaet hit the front under the flamme rouge and with 300 meters to go, at which point Kennaugh was caught, the Belgian launched his sprint.
Matthews managed to come over the top of Van Avermaet in the final meters of the race which saw Van Avermaet settle for second place for the third consecutive year and his fifth podium result at the race.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“It’s frustrating to get second again, especially because I was second to Peter Sagan the last two years and last year I beat Michael Matthews so this year, I was hoping to win. Matthews was really strong in the sprint. It’s always frustrating to get second because you come here to win and when you are second three times in a row, you can’t be really satisfied. The positive is that the parcours suits me and I’m always good at the race, but there always seems to be someone who is a bit faster than me in this finish.”
“It was a long sprint but on this kind of sprint, it’s more about the legs than the timing. There was a headwind but if you are waiting too late, you can be boxed in. So sometimes it’s better to give it a go earlier. It’s always super hard. Matthews came over me pretty fast and kept the speed until the end so he deserves it.”
“I’m happy with my legs. I had good feelings. You always need to get into the rhythm after a period of not racing, but I was really happy with how my legs were responding the whole day and I felt pretty fresh in the last few laps. The race has changed in the last few years. There is less attacking and everyone is more focused on the sprint which suits me. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s race in Montreal. It is a harder parcours but it’s also one that suits me. The climbers are more favored there and there is definitely the possibility to avoid a bunch sprint. It’s a really hard climb and a very different race to the race here in Quebec. I’m hoping for a more open race. I think here in Quebec there are only about five riders who have a good shot at winning, but in Montreal there are many more.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec
Quebec > Quebec (201.6km)
Top 3: 1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), 2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), 3. Jasper Steven (Trek-Segafredo).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 2. Greg Van Avermaet, 40. Damiano Caruso, 64. Michael Schär.