After his dominant showing in the GP Quebec to take his 100th professional victory, Peter Sagan explained his bid for GP Montreal victory was undone by a peloton that refused to cooperate with the world champion in the chase of the breakaway.
The two riders that Sagan beat on Friday, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), beat the Slovakian over the line at 16 seconds to winner Diego Ulissi. Sagan's final result was ninth place in his final race before the World Championships where he is aiming for a third straight title.
A winner on Montreal in 2012, Sagan was second to Van Avermaet last year before going into to win a second Worlds title in Doha. Having proven his current winning form and condition in Quebec, Sagan explained the second of the Canadian WorldTour one-day races was unlike previous editions. The 27-year-old added that while he was keen to contest the win, he was not going to drag his rivals to the line without them sharing the work load.
"I could say that this year's Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal was a strange race. The entire Bora-Hansgrohe squad put in a strong effort with Lukas Pöstlberger pulling hard to control the breakaways when needed," Sagan said. "In the final kilometres, a small group managed to get away and build a gap from the peloton. I tried to bridge to them and bring them back but there was no cooperation from the other riders of the peloton.
"I wasn't going to do all the work on my own, so the gap remained until the finish and Ulissi got the win. However, that's cycling and I have to accept the result. It's time now to head back to Europe and focus on the season's final major goal, the World Championship in Norway."
Sagan's result ended a run of winning or finishing on the podium in each race he's started since the Tour of California in May. Despite missing the podium, Patxi Vila explained that he believes that Sagan again proved he is the rider to beat and despite the strong Bora team, they couldn't overcome the rival teams.
"It was a hard race - actually, it's much harder than it seems on TV. With a total climb of nearly 4,000 metres, it is comparable to a mountain stage of a Grand Tour! The team did their work tirelessly, just like they did on Friday in Québec," Vila said. "Bora-hansgrohe isn't simply a strong Peter Sagan, it is a strong set of riders to support a strong Peter Sagan. However, the other teams had their own priorities and strategies and there wasn't much more we could do. That's racing and we focus on always giving our best."