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Voeckler claims inaugural GP Québec

By:
Kirsten Frattini

Perfectly timed move puts French champion on the top step

French road champion Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) made a well-timed attack in the final 800 metres to take victory in North America's first-ever ProTour race at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) out-paced a dwindled chase group to take second place ahead of Robert Gesink (Rabobank).

"I was very surprised to win this race because I was expecting to be in the top ten but nothing better," Voeckler said. "I arrived at this race not in the best shape. I was lucky because I was able to take advantage of the breakaway riders who did a lot of work and the teams that worked hard to bring back the break. There were fifteen laps and I had plenty of time to memorize that last climb. I knew exactly where I should attack and that is what I did."

Team Sky did much of the day's work to reduce the time margin to a late-race breakaway that included several threatening riders. Their sprinter, Boasson Hagen, was still in contention for the win and the team received some help from Euskaltel-Euskadi working for the Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez.

"The team did a really good job to control the race all day," Boasson Hagen said. "I was hurting on the last lap but I'm thankful for all the help from them. I couldn't close down the first rider and I was hoping that two or more riders would help, I got second place and I am happy with that. Of course I would like to have won but I am happy with all the work my team did."

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) was the top-placed Canadian rider in fourth and was not disappointed in his performance despite being the odds-on favourite to win. He left it all on the road in a late-race attack on the Cote de la Montagne's steep ascent through Old Quebec City. He bridged across to Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) and Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) with Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Fabian Wagmann (Team Milram) who also joined the threatening breakaway of five riders.

"I was looking to stand on the podium, maybe the top step and I came close," Hesjedal said. "I came here to make the race and make it hard to give myself an opportunity so I'm happy with the result. The crowds were amazing and it was a great day so I'm not disappointed. It was amazing, the fans here were overwhelming and it really lifted me."

"I felt good on the last climb, was in my big chain ring," he added. "It was a big effort and I had the legs to do that. I was committed to the move and was happy to get there with those guys closing in on us. People were looking at me to drive the break and I initiated that attack. Maybe if we had more riders in the move it would have been a lot stronger."

Voeckler was a part of a small chase group that bridged across to the breakaway in the final few kilometres of the race.

"Obviously the show today was for Ryder," Voeckler said. "I'm sorry to say but I am glad to spoil his show. That is cycling. In the Grand Prix de Plouay, I was the star. I realized here that Ryder has become a great star in this country because he was seventh at the Tour de France and it was only natural that he should be the star."

ProTour madness sweeps through Old Quebec City

Riders called to the line included two-time Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini), French national champion Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom), Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia), US national champion George Hincapie (BMC Racing), Olympic gold medallist Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), Jens Voight (Saxo Bank) and Canadian national champion Will Routley (Team Canada). Noticeably absent from the start line was Canadian Michael Barry (Team Sky) who is recovering from a set of broken ribs.

The early breakaway of seven riders included Markel Irizar and Jaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Daniel Oss (Liquigas Doimo), Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank), Alfredo Balloni (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Dominik Nerz (Team Milram) and Bruno Langlois (Team Canada).

The lead riders wrapped around the Cote Gilmore and traced the St Lawrence River toward the walls of Old Quebec City for the circuit's steep one-kilometre climb. The narrow roads continued to twist and turn before passing in and out of the walled city through the doors to the city, Porte St Jean and Porte St Louis and back to the start finish line.

Roman Kireyev (Astana) was the first rider to go down and was sidelined from the race on the second lap. The Kazakhstan rider's front wheel hit a hole in the road and he was thrown from his bike onto the pavement. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) benefited from a swift bike change from his teammate following a flat tire on the circuit's KOM. Another rider who experienced technical difficulty was former world champion Allessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) who had to dismount his bike twice throughout the race for mechanical support.

The breakaway battle up the Cote de la Montagne

The breakaway reshuffled and the time margin exploded to more than three minutes on the third lap. Original breakaway riders, Balloni, Irizar, Nerz, Popovych were joined by Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank), Francois Parisien (Team Canada), Jurgen van de Walle (Quick Step), Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Sebastien Turgot (BBox Bouygues Telecom), Elia Viviani and Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Doimo) Bram Tankink (Rabobank) and Maxim Gourov (Astana).

The king of the mountain ascent was located mid-circuit on the Cote de la Montagne. The short but steep climb wound its way passed one of the historical Canadian-Pacific hotels Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec City on each lap. It was also the event hotel and riders were spotted veering off course during the race to call it a day.

Both Popovych and Viviani won the first two ascents. However, as the race progressed, Fuglsang put pressure on the narrow ascent in an effort to gain some points for himself. He was quickly followed by Irizar and the pair gained a small lead ahead of their breakaway companions on the third lap. He collected full points in the KOM and went on to win the following three ascent sprints, gaining a sizable lead as in the KOM competition ahead of Viviani and Popovych.

Fuglsang tallied 24 points with five laps to go and with only 15 available points remaining, he secured his win in the event's Best Climber category ahead of Viviani and Popovych who both fell off the breakaway's pace in the closing laps.

Who will lead the chase?

The breakaway continued to hold a more than four minute lead ahead of a seemingly unconcerned peloton that gingerly road around the circuit until five laps to go. Euskaltel-Euskadi decided to take the reins and put forth a concerted effort to reduce the time gap with help from Team Sky.

Fuglsang continued to put pressure on the ascent each lap and effectively reduced the breakaway down to just seven riders that included Balloni, Irizar, Van De Walle, Nerz, Tankink and Agnoli. Riders that fell off pace included Gourov, Popovych, Turgot, Parisien, Fouchard, Viviani and Veikkanen. Nerz made a move on the ascent with three laps to go and Fuglsang in tow. However, their efforts were short lived and they reunited with their five breakaway companions.

The rest of the peloton continued in pursuit of the breakaway reducing the gap to under two minutes with three laps to go. Euskaltel-Euskadi added more man-power to the chase in good faith that Sanchez could deliver a victory. Team Sky aided in the chase effort, riding for sprinter Edvald Boasson Hagen and the peloton stretched out along the Saint Lawrence River.

The first attack came from Mirko Salvaggi (Astana) following on the Cote de la Montagne with two laps to go. Anthony Charteau (BBox Bouygues Telecom) was the next rider to make a move and he quickly joined Salvaggi off the front.

With two laps to go, the peloton caught the remnants of the breakaway. A crash occurred through the start-finish straightaway that included George Hincapie (BMC Racing) Janez Brakovic (RadioShack) and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step).

Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) jumped out of the field with Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) on the climb. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) made his first appearance of the day when he jumped form the peloton with Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Fabian Wagmann (Team Milram) who formed a new breakaway of five riders.

But the quintet was reeled back in, and as the leaders took a brief respite, Voeckler launched his winning attack and couldn't believe his good luck as he crossed the line.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 4:35:27  
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:01  
3 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank    
4 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions    
5 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
6 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
7 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram    
8 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia    
9 Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step    
10 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
11 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team Radioshack    
12 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
13 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
14 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
15 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
16 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Astana 0:00:09  
17 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack    
18 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
19 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo    
20 Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin - Transitions    
21 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:14  
22 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Team Katusha    
23 Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:18  
24 Keven Lacombe (Can) Canada 0:00:20  
25 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Française Des Jeux 0:00:23  
26 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:29  
27 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram    
28 Nikita Eskov (Rus) Team Katusha    
29 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBox Bouygues Telecom    
30 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step    
31 David Veilleux (Can) Canada    
32 Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia    
33 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
34 Gert Dockx (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia    
35 Evgueny Petrov (Rus) Team Katusha    
36 Charles Dionne (Can) Canada    
37 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française Des Jeux    
38 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Radioshack    
39 Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Footon-Servetto    
40 Julien Elfares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
41 José Joaquim Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
42 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step    
43 Dominique Rollin (Can) Canada    
44 Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
45 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Astana    
46 Laszlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team Katusha    
47 Morris Possoni (Ita) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
48 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank    
49 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
50 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha    
51 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
52 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team    
53 Alexander Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha    
54 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram    
55 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne    
56 Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
57 Craig Lewis (USA) Team HTC - Columbia    
58 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Astana    
59 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step    
60 Tristan Valenttin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
61 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
62 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
63 Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Astana    
64 Cyril Gautier (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom    
65 David Le Lay (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
66 Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team    
67 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank    
68 Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
69 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Canada    
70 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
71 Anthony Charteau (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom    
72 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
73 Will Routley (Can) Canada 0:00:39  
74 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
75 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:49  
76 Fabio Felline (Ita) Footon-Servetto 0:01:01  
77 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
78 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
79 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank 0:01:05  
80 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:01:17  
81 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:01:31  
82 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:01:58  
83 Enrico Magazzini (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:02:07  
84 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:09  
85 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:33  
86 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:02:46  
87 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step    
88 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana    
89 Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:02:48  
90 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team Radioshack 0:03:40  
91 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
92 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
93 Dario Cioni (Ita) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:04:26  
94 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 0:06:31  
95 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:08:26  
96 André Steensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
97 Marcus Eibegger (Aut) Footon-Servetto    
98 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram    
99 Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
100 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:10:43  
101 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram    
102 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
103 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
104 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale    
105 Laurent Didier (Lux) Team Saxo Bank    
106 Bruno Langlois (Can) Canada    
107 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Team Milram    
108 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Team Katusha    
109 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
110 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step 0:12:19  
DNF Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Timmy Duggan (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank    
DNF Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Rabobank    
DNF Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank    
DNF Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack    
DNF Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Radioshack    
DNF Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack    
DNF Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step    
DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step    
DNF Kurt Arvesen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Davide Vigano (Ita) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Anthony Roux (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux    
DNF Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Khalilov Mikhaylo (Ukr) Team Katusha    
DNF Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Alfredo Balloni (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Simone Ponzi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram    
DNF Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana    
DNF Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kaz) Astana    
DNF Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana    
DNF Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Christophe Brandt (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Michiel Elijzen (Ned) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Vidal Celis Zabala (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
DNF Marco Corti (Ita) Footon-Servetto    
DNF Noé Gianetti (Swi) Footon-Servetto    
DNF David Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
DNF Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom    
DNF Yohann Gene (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom    
DNF Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom    
DNF Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Jeff Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Rémi Cusin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF François Parisien (Can) Canada    
DNS Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Doimo