Matthews wins Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal

Australian takes double wins in Canadian WorldTour races

Under the watchful gaze of the winged Goddess of Liberty atop the George-Étienne Cartier Monument, Michael Matthews (Sunweb) found wings of his own to claim the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, and in doing so take his second win of the week after triumphing in Quebec on Friday.

"I started my sprint way too early and I was a little bit worried that I wasn't going to get the win," Matthews said. "It was a super hard day out there and my team did an awesome job to keep all the breakaway together and give me an opportunity to sprint. I only just got these guys on the line and I'm super happy to win."

This time the Australian showcased an even more impressive sprint to surpass a despairing Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) in the closing metres, while Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) finished third. In doing so, Matthews becomes the first rider since Simon Gerrans in 2014 to win both Canadian races in the same season, and just as with Gerrans four years ago, Matthews was as clinical as he was confident. Even though he started the sprint from fifth wheel in Montreal, and Colbrelli looked to have secured the win with a bold sprint from 150 metres out, the Sunweb rider found another gear to win by less than a bike length.

Matthews, who was overlooked for the Australian Worlds team, put in a near-flawless display but he had his team to thank after a number of dangerous moves scurried clear in the final few laps. Pre-race favouites Tim Wellens and Matej Mohoric both marshalled separate late attacks, while Colbrelli had the superior support in the final after Matthews' final supporting cast were burnt off towards the end of the race.

As the leaders turned the final corner with around 500 metres to go Michael Valgren (Astana) hit the front. Matthews was in fifth but kicked for home and moved to the far side of the road. It looked as though he had sprinted too soon, and had to correct his line when Colbrelli opened the throttle. Colbrelli hit the final 75m with the lead but Matthews' second kick was enough to take the win.

There was a poignant moment, too, when Simon Gerrrans - a rider who clashed with Matthews during their time together at Orica - put in a huge turn on the front of the race in the closing stages in a bid to set up Van Avermaet's chances. Gerrans would later peel off from the bunch and effectively end his WorldTour career before Matthews would win his second WorldTour level one-day race of his career. The torch has well and truly been passed from one Australian rider to another.

Familiar feeling

The race itself, with the climbs of Mont Royal, the Cote de Polytechnique and Claude-Champagne, saw an early break of five go clear inside the opening kilometres. Canadians once again dominated the early move, with Britain's Owain Doull (Team Sky) the only non-Canadian in a break made up of  home-grown talent Hugo Houle (Team Astana), Nigel Ellsay (Rally Cycling), Adam Roberge (Canada) and Charles-Etienne Chretien (Canada). The group built up a lead of over five minutes during the opening laps, before Team Sunweb, Lotto Soudal and BMC Racing set about organising a chase.

With blue skies, and perfect race conditions, the speed was relaxed, even when youngster Chretien was dropped from the break with 60km to go.

Bringing it back

Wellens' had his Lotto Soudal squad increase the pace inside the final 40km, while Houle began to struggle at the front. Wellens' move, with 34km to go, opened up the race, with several teams unwilling to carry Matthews and the other sprinters to the finish. The Belgian's attack on Mount Royal was quickly snuffed out before Mohoric went clear with far more purpose on the descent. The Bahrain Merida rider arrived in Canada full of confidence after back-to-back stage race wins in Europe, and he looked supreme - even when his compatriot, and the last man standing from the race's break in 2014, Jan Polanc, joined him with 29km to go. A second counter attack allowed Gregor Mühlberger to make contact with the two Slovenians, and the trio quickly overhauled the day's early break as Sunweb gave chase.

Gerrans' final act in a WorldTour race saw him draw the leaders back to 26 seconds as the race hit the final two laps before the Australian swung off and bowed out. He will apparently race the Japan Cup later in the year but this was an emphatically understated way for a rider of his calibre to exit the sport as he wheeled away, unwilling to take questions from the press.

Sam Oomen, a rider more accustomed to leading Tom Dumoulin up mountain passes, assumed control of the bunch with less than two laps remaining as Mohoric and his two breakaway companions held a 15-second lead.

The time is now

On the final ascent of Mount Royal the Sunweb team, with the help of Lotto, regained control but the parcours of this race always provides an opportunity to attack just after one move is nullified. This time James Knox, Jakob Fuglsang, and Wellens slipped clear with just under 10km to go.

Mohoric was now asked to defend rather than attack, and the Slovenian ushered his Bahrain Merida squad to the front in a bid to set up Colbrelli. On the penultimate climb the trio were reeled in, with Mohoric himself leading the bunch into the final stretch.

Then, with the sun starting to set on a crisp Canadian afternoon, Michael Matthews burst from the pack to claim his win. There may not be a Worlds selection for the Canberra kid this year but with the sun setting on Gerran's career - and most likely Mat Hayman - Matthews has now become Australia's most successful one-day rider in the peloton. What's more, he's done it in just the space of a few days.  


Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb5:19:27 
2Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
3Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
4Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
5Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo  
6Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates  
7Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
8Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
9Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe  
10Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
11Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin  
12Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
13Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo  
14Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
15Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates  
16Brandon Mcnulty (USA) Rally Cycling  
17David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
18Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
19Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel-Cycling Academy  
20Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott  
21Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
22Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Bora-Hansgrohe  
23James Knox (GBr) Quick-Step Floors  
24Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
25Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
26Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
27Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
28Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky  
29Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ  
30Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team  
31Nathan Brown (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:07 
32Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
33Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel-Cycling Academy  
34David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky  
35Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors  
36Ben O'connor (Aus) Dimension Data  
37Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
38Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team  
39Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
40Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:18 
41Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:00:26 
42Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:27 
43Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
44Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNl-Jumbo0:00:37 
45Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana Pro Team0:01:20 
46Simon Špilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:51 
47Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data0:01:58 
48Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates  
49Alexander Cataford (Can) Canada  
50Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
51Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel-Cycling Academy  
52Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
53Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
54Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Movistar Team  
55Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team  
56Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
57Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
58James Piccoli (Can) Canada  
59Ryan Anderson (Can) Rally Cycling  
60Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo  
61Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNl-Jumbo  
62Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling  
63Robert Britton (Can) Rally Cycling  
64Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
65Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Sky  
66Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky  
67Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
68Steve Morabito (Swi) Groupama-FDJ  
69Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky  
70Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Movistar Team  
71Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo  
72François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:12 
73G Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:02:15 
74Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:02:21 
75Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:02:50 
76Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:02:56 
77Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:03:00 
78Brendan Canty (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:03:02 
79Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:04 
80Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:03:08 
81Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:12 
82Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb0:03:49 
83Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling0:04:32 
84Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data0:05:04 
85Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:05:06 
86Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team  
87Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal  
88Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
89Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:06:57 
90Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo  
91Daan Olivier (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo  
92Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:09:40 
93Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
94Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
95Benjamin Perry (Can) Israel-Cycling Academy  
96Nigel Ellsay (Can) Rally Cycling  
97Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
98Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:10:53 
99Adam Roberge (Can) Canada0:11:31 
100Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Canada  
101Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky0:12:46 
102Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team0:13:40 
DNFNathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMarco Mathis (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFFlorian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
DNFSam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFMagnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
DNFAmund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFRobert Thomas Wagner (Ger) LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFKristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFChad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFJohn Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFHarm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFJoseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFWilliam Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFLogan Owen (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFBaptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFMaxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFNicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFBernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data  
DNFLachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNFDennis Van Winden (Ned) Israel-Cycling Academy  
DNFGuy Niv (Isr) Israel-Cycling Academy  
DNFGuy Sagiv (Isr) Israel-Cycling Academy  
DNFAdam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling  
DNFPier Andre Cote (Can) Canada  
DNFCharles-Etienne Chretien (Can) Canada  
DNFEdward Walsh (Can) Canada  


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