Cauberg well suited to Australian Champion's strengths
Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) may have planned his season to perfection with the Australian Champion displaying solid form on Friday at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec in Canada.
The 32-year-old chased down BMC'S Greg Van Avermaet and then out-sprinted him in a duel over the last 200 metres in the finishing straight to win the event, bringing into focus Gerrans next major objective - the UCI Road World Championships.
"Right from the beginning of the season it was a goal of mine to come into good shape for these later races of the year so it's a real buzz to be back there winning again," Gerrans said following his win in Quebec. He didn't expand on what exactly these "later races" are but the world championships have been in the back of Gerrans' mind from the outset in 2012. Cycling Australia officials have also targeted both this year's world championships and the next for Gerrans and he was named on the long list for the 2012 event a fortnight ago with the final line-up to be announced by September 10.
The Ardennes has been a happy hunting ground for Gerrans in the past finishing third at Amstel Gold in 2011 and also boasting top 10 finishes at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2009. Amstel Gold, with its finish on the Cauberg is particularly suited to Gerrans and so with the 1.2km climb in line to produce a final selection in the world championship road race, the Australian should be in line for finish inside the top 10.
The 261km world championship road race won't finish on the Cauberg like Amstel, instead, the finish line is around 1700m beyond the summit - but a look at Gerrans' previous results indicate that this may play into the Australian's hands. At Amstel Gold in 2011, Gerrans couldn't match the kick of eventual-winner Phillippe Gilbert on the Cauberg. He was able to go after runner-up Joaquim Rodriguez and finished a comfortable third, indicating that if Gerrans can maintain good position as the race comes to a head, the final 1700 metres following the Cauberg could work in his favour.
He certainly has the form with Orica-GreenEdge sports director Lorenzo Lapage explaining that in Quebec, Gerrans was exhibiting similar qualities to what he had when he claimed victory in the Santos Tour Down Under for the second time, and then outkicked Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) at Milan-San Remo.
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