Van Avermaet Secures Top Ten Finish After Thrilling Finale in Montreal10. September 2017, Montreal (CAN) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team returned to the start line in Canada today with Greg Van Avermaet sprinting to seventh on the line after a late breakaway stole the show at GP Cycliste de Montreal.
The race unfolded in a similar fashion to Quebec with an early breakaway, this time made up of only two riders, going clear on the first of 17 laps of a 12.1km circuit, which included two testing climbs as well as a drag up to the line.
The peloton was happy for the duo to extend a gap of over five minutes as they crossed the line to begin lap three. However, an increase in pace saw the gap fall to 1’30” as splits began to form with just 40 riders, including Van Avermaet, making the front selection.
However, with several teams missing out on the split, a nervous and determined chase began and the peloton came back together with 150km of racing still to come. As a result, the gap to the two leaders began to extend once again, and it was hovering at over two minutes before, heading into the second half of the race, the action heated up.
Once the race reached the 90km to go mark, the breakaway had been pulled to within 30 seconds and, just a handful of kilometers later, the catch was made. A relentless pace was immediately set at the front of the peloton, stretching riders out into single file and neutralizing all possible attacks with seven laps remaining.
Eventually, with 65km to go, two riders were able to put distance between themselves and the peloton. However, they weren’t given too much freedom and, after a flurry of counterattacks, they were brought back into the fold heading into the final 40km of the day before, with the pressure still high at the front of the peloton, a large front group with Danilo Wyss and Dylan Teuns formed.
Behind them, Van Avermaet remained well-positioned and protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates, and once the catch was made at the beginning of the penultimate lap, the race stayed all together before another large group formed at the front of the race on the approach to the start of the lap 17.
As the bell rang, the group, which once again included Teuns, was sitting just over 20 seconds clear of the main bunch but as riders were dropping back, the peloton exploded as Van Avermaet tried to make a move off the front. However, the six remaining leaders were still holding onto their advantage as they went under the flamme rouge which was enough to see them battle for the win, with Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) taking the day’s honors.
Van Avermaet continued to push hard in the chasing group, attacking his rivals several times over the final kilometers of the race and eventually won the sprint behind to take seventh on the line.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"A big group went, and they had a good advantage on the last lap, and it was hard to catch them because they were strong guys. We tried, but in the end, I didn't have anyone in the group with me, and we lost a few more seconds, and then you know you're just sprinting for a top ten place."
"It was a different approach to last year. We went away with a good group of guys, but this time we had no one in front. I won the sprint from the bunch behind, and I had a really good feeling today, probably my best in Montreal, but I didn't get the win. I am a bit disappointed as I was probably one of the strongest guys in the race today and you expect to win."
"Today's race was hard, in fact, it was really hard. I did what I could for the team in my final UCI WorldTour road race but the parcours here doesn't suit me too well. It was a really special feeling, and I could feel the love from my friends and colleagues before the race. I took a lot of photos with my teammates and former teammates, and they made me feel really loved and appreciated. Now, my focus is on the TTT in Bergen, and I am putting all my energy into that, and hopefully, I can finish my professional cycling career on a high."
GP Cycliste de Montreal
One-day race: Montreal > Montreal, 205.7km
Top 3: 1. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 2. Jesús Herrada (Movistar Team) 3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 7. Greg Van Avermaet 31. Dylan Teuns 39. Danilo Wyss
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.