Michael “Bling” Matthews won his second consecutive Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday, outmuscling Peter Sagan in a bunch sprint. Greg Van Avermaet’s third place made for his sixth GPCQ podium in ten editions. Hugo Houle was top Canadian at 15th.

The Course

Sixteen laps of a 12.6 circuit awaited in the city of Québec. Each lap contained four climbs in the final 3.6 km: 300-metre Cote de la Montagne at 10 percent, Cote de la Potasse up Des Glacis, Montée de la Fabrique and the long rise of Grand Allée to the finish line.

Special Racers

Svein Tuft was one of 18 Canadians in the race, but his participation was special as it was his last professional contest.

Antoine Duchesne had recently returned to racing after three months away from competition to recover from surgery. Michael Woods hadn’t raced since August 3. Last year’s winner Michael Matthews was on the start line, as was back-to-back winner Peter Sagan. All eyes were on sensational Julian Alaphilippe.

The Breakaway

Two Canadians were in the day’s breakaway, Evan Burnik and Adam Roberge of Team Canada. Burtnik was on the hunt for King of the Mountain points, and kept rolling them up.

Unfortunately, Roberge crashed out, as did compatriot Guillaume Boivin, who hit a bottle just after the feed zone.

With Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe, Matthew’s Sunweb and Gren Van Avermaet’s CCC controlling the peloton, the gap went out to 8:00, but with 5 laps to go it was 2:45 as Roberge carried on with three others.

Attacks started from the peloton by the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Dan Martin, with Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick Step covering.

It was over for the fugitives with 27 km to go.

The Final Two Laps

More attacks flared on the penultimate lap, with Carlos Betancur, who is said to be off to UAE-Emirates next season, among those who attempted to skip away.

A large peloton started up Cote de la Montagne for the final time. Deceuninck-Quick Step drove Alaphilippe into the final 3-km where he attacked, Sagan, Van Avermaet, Matthews and Diego Ullisi latching on.

At the red kite, Sagan made a dig that Alaphilippe countered. But it would be Matthews repeating as the champion. Sagan was runner-up while Van Avermaet came third for the second time.

Woods was 17th, while James Piccoli was the top rider from Team Canada in 22nd.

Sunday is the second Laurentian Classic in Montréal.

2019 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
1) Michael Matthews (Australia/Sunweb)
2) Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
3) Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium/CCC) s.t.
15) Hugo Houle (Canada/Astana) s.t.
17) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Education First) s.t.
22) James Piccoli (Team Canada) s.t.

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