The Australian timed his effort perfectly to out-sprint Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp), sealing his team’s 100th victory in the process. Coincidently, it was Gerrans who picked up the team’s very first win, back in 2012.
“I’m really proud of this victory. It’s come off the back of a long season but I’m really pleased to have come back into good form at this stage of the year after a good start, a big spring and difficult Tour de France,” Gerrans said in the winner's press conference.
The field at the World Championships in just over a fortnight will undoubtedly be tougher than the one on display in Quebec, and the course is both longer and more demanding. Gerrans’ record in the World Championships is relatively mediocre compared to his other one-day successes. However one of his main strengths is his ability to hit peak form at specific points in the season and win major races. His palmares includes victories at Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, stages in all three Grand Tours, the GP Plouay; three editions of the Tours Down Under and also here in Quebec two seasons ago.
When he reaches a race in optimal form, his strike rate is among the best in the world.
“This is a great indication of my form,” Gerrans said. “For the past few weeks I’ve tried to maintain my form. I didn’t try and do anything too specific for these races, they’ve just been part of my preparation leading towards the Worlds but I hope I have another level to find.”
“It’s always an objective to perform well at the World Championships but it’s also very difficult having gone well in January, the spring and then to find something again at the end of the season. I’ve been trying to maintain my Tour condition without working too hard and obviously off the back of racing here in Canada that should improve my condition a little bit more.”
Finding a fourth peak of form
The challenge for Gerrans, he says, is whether he can find a fourth peak this year. He stated that he is not on the same level that saw him win Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April, as he looked to play down expectations. But he added that he has tried to maintain form with the idea of finding one last push for Ponferrada.
“It’s quite different racing on your fourth peak of the season and at this stage of the year I feel like I’m running on fumes. But you’ve got to play it really smart in these races. I’ve tried to be careful with my training and taking care of myself so that I’ve got something left for the World Championships.”
Most nations have yet to announce their final rosters for the Worlds but Australia is likely to head into the road race with Gerrans and Michael Matthews as protected riders. Matthews has enjoyed a season of success too and has demonstrated that he can race some of the longest one day races on the calendar and finish strongly: he was twelfth in Amstel Gold, while Gerrans was third.
“We’ve seen some great form from a few of the guys in the Vuelta but it’s actually some of the ones that you don’t see so much that often come out of the race the best,” Gerrans said when asked to rank himself against the top favourites for Worlds.
“There’s a few guys racing here who are also targeting the Worlds so it’s difficult to say where I am compared to everyone else but I’m hoping to come up a little bit more.”