Cody Canning (Canada) caused an upset at the Sprint Challenge Pro Quebec event, beating Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Steele von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) to win the special evening race in the centre of Quebec.
His rivals perhaps did not know that Canning is current Canadian Sprint Challenge champion, a title that earned him his place in the Sprint Challenge Pro race. He used his experience in the event, his sprint skills and tactics to progress through the qualification, quarter-final and semi-final rounds, finishing second to Coquard and von Hoff. Then in the final he surprised them by starting his final sprint early. Coquard and von Hoff tried to respond and close the gap as the finish neared but they left it too late and Canning won, punching the air in celebration.
"It was a bit of surprise. I didn't expect to win," Canning said. "I just tried to produce a good acceleration. It's an event we do at our national championships and and I won it."
26 year-old Canning had fellow Canadian rider Eliott Doyle in the four-rider final but they rode their own races. The first half of the 1200m course was slightly down hill at 4% before the riders went through a dead turn and headed back up the same road to the finish. Sprinting in the right gear and timing the effort was vital in securing success.
"We didn't talk tactics, it was everyman for themselves," Canning explained.
Bryan Coquard won the event in 2013 and seemed set for a second consecutive victory this year after dominating his qualifying rounds. Coquard's track and Omnium racing skills make him perfect for the four rounds of intense sprinting but he was caught out by Canning's speed in the final.
"It's a pity not to win again but I'm not really disappointed," the Frenchman said. "It's a spectacular race and its a pleasure to be back this year after winning last year. I can only congratulate Cody Canning."
Steele von Hoff completed the podium and also took home a bottle Verve Clique champagne.
"It was the first time for me and I loved it. I had good fun and it's a good format that is good for the spectators and for television, it keeps the sprinting interesting," the Australian said.
The early rounds saw several bigger-name European professional go out, with many of them already thinking of Thursday's Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec. The 199km road race ends on the same rising road but will be a much more testing event.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Cody Canning (Can) Team Canada|
|2||Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar|
|3||Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp|
|4||Eliott Doyle (Can) Team Canada|