Van Avermaet Kicks Off Canadian Campaign with Second at GP Cycliste de Québec8. September 2017, Québec City (CAN) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet stepped onto the podium at GP Cycliste de Québec for the fourth time in his career today after securing second place behind winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in a nail-biting sprint to the line.
After a flurry of early attacks over the first of 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit, which included a series of puncheur-style climbs and a long drag to the line, a four-rider breakaway went clear and built up an advantage which was sitting at over nine minutes after 40km of racing.
As the race reached the halfway point and crossed the line to start lap nine, the peloton, with Manuel Senni putting in an impressive effort to set the pace, had pulled the breakaway back to 7'55" before the chase really started to pick up heading inside the final 60km of the day.
With three laps to go, the main bunch trailed the remaining three breakaway riders by 3'30" as a solid display of teamwork from BMC Racing Team saw Van Avermaet protected and well-positioned going into the final.
Just two riders were left out at the front of the race as the peloton brought the gap down to under one minute before the final rider was caught with 16km to go and despite various attacks, the bunch was all together as the bell rang to mark the start of the final lap around Québec City.
Inside 10km to go, Jempy Drucker was up at the front of the peloton controlling the pace with Van Avermaet tucked neatly behind Danilo Wyss and Michael Schär in preparation for a fast and furious finale with a series of late attacks being quickly reeled in.
The race was wide open when the bunch sprint was launched with 250m to go as Van Avermaet powered through the field and, while he was unable to overtake Sagan before the line, his impressive turn of speed saw him hold of his chasers to eventually cross line in second place.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"It was a pretty similar race to last year. I lost Sagan's wheel a little when he went, and I couldn't have come past him, so I am pretty happy about my race. I would love to win here but second is not too bad. I am happy with my shape now, and the team did a great job to put me in a good position on the final climbs. Maybe with a little extra luck, I can win here."
"For me, the most important thing is that I still have a lot of power in my legs over the last kilometer and from there, whether you win or not, is all in the details. Today I was second, and hopefully, when we go to Montreal, I can repeat the same result as last year."
"It was a good day. I tried at the beginning to control the breakaway as we didn't want to let any teams like Bora-hansgrohe or Team Sunweb get in the breakaway. After that, I started to keep control of the gap, and I was pulling at the front of the bunch and did my job for Greg Van Avermaet and the team until around five or six laps to go. The other guys then took over and did a great job and put Greg into a good position to be able to make the podium."
"It is always nice when you work a lot and then you see your captain finish strong and secure a good result. It's a great feeling every time."
Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:
"We are happy with today's race. It went how we planned and how we expected with the race coming down to Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan, and Michael Matthews. Greg was in a good position in the wheel of Sagan at the end, but he was just stronger today. It was a similar race to last year, and Greg did a great job, and this will only motivate him more for Sunday's race and also for the UCI World Championships."
"The team also did a great job. They were amazing and executed our plan perfectly. Sometimes you have an idea of what you want to happen, and it doesn't work out, but with the strength of the team we have here, they were able to do exactly what we wanted and keep the situation calm for Greg in the peloton before putting him into the best position possible for the final."
GP Cycliste de Québec
One-day race: Québec City > Québec City, 201.6km
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 2. Greg Van Avermaet 3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Greg Van Avermaet 61. Michael Schär 63. Dylan Teuns