Matthews wins Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec

Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) came out on top in a nail-biting finish to the 2019 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. The Australian won via a convincing sprint over Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Greg Van Avermaet (Team CCC), but the race was anything but a formality after Sagan and Van Avermaet were part of a dangerous move that was caught with less than 500m to go.

Matthews, who came into the race as the defending champion, hit out with just under 200m to go, passing the late break before the line and celebrating in style to cement his place as a genuine contender for the UCI Road World Championships later this month.

The race looked to be swinging away from Matthews in the closing stages when Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) attacked with just over 2km to go on the final climb of the race. The Frenchman drew an immediate reaction from Sagan, Van Avermaet and two other riders, and despite a slim margin it looked as though the group would decide the race.

However, AG2R La Mondiale and several other teams combined to nullify the attack and they were brought back with less than 1km to go, despite a late acceleration from Sagan.

The former World Champion had enough in the tank to sprint with the line in sight, but it was Matthews and his fresher legs who came out on top.

"I’m not exactly sure how I did that,” Matthews said. "I made a big mistake at the bottom of the climb. I wasn’t in a good enough position and when all the big favourites went I wasn’t in the position to go with them. I’m angry with myself about that but they came back and I had the legs for the sprint. It’s a win but I also made a big mistake in the final.

“I was really kicking myself in the final that I wasn’t with the best guys going over the climbs. I’m just lucky that they looked at each other in the final straight. Another reason I dug so deep was because the team rode all day. They rode amazing. I’m just happy that I could finish it off.

Matthews not only added another line to his palmares, he also helped himself to a big boost of confidence before the World Championships in Yorkshire.

"The field is maybe a bit better this year," he said of the peloton n Quebec. "That’s a massive motivation going into the Worlds. We’ve got Alaphilippe here and Sagan. We’ve the best riders in the world here. The season hasn’t gone great for me, so it’s nice to show the Aussies that I’m ready and that I’m ready to fight for them."

How it unfolded

Organisers of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec stayed true to their traditional 200km route for the 10th edition of the event. The WorldTour peloton completed 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit that starts and finishes on the Grande Allée inside the stone walls of old Quebec City.

The race wound down through the Parc des Champs de Bataille and shot out onto the Boulevard Champlain stretched out along the edge of the Saint Lawrence river. The peloton raced several short but steep climbs, first on the Côte de la Potasse, skirting around the iconic Chateau Frontenac, and then up the Montée de la Fabrique before looping around toward the uphill drag to the finish line.

What also stayed true to the tradition of the race was an early-breakaway that settled into what would be a day-long effort. The six riders that emerged in the opening lap included Canadian national teammates Evan Burtnik and Adam Roberge, Luis Mas (Movistar), Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), Gavin Mannion (Rally UHC) and Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo).

At the start of the third lap, the men pushed their lead out to five minutes and then out to seven minutes by the end of the fifth lap. CCC team, at first, did the bulk of the pace-setting to keep the gap at a manageable distance. If the event’s 10-year history repeated itself then this early breakaway would not succeed to the finish line.

Burtnik picked up full points on the first seven KOMs. Everything looked to be running smoothly and according to plan for the Canadian team but ill-luck struck when Roberge crashed out of the breakaway.

The gap began to fall just after the halfway point. Three-time runner-up Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), and former winners Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) sent teammates to the front moved to shut down the breakaway before the closing laps.

Burtnik continued to pick up KOM points until the breakaway began to dissolve, holding less than two minutes with roughly four laps to go, and splitting apart along the undulating circuit.

Mannion and Mas carried on out front as their breakaway companions were reabsorbed into the chasing field with three laps to go. However, both were caught and then dropped as Team Ineos and Sunweb led the charging peloton into the final two laps.

As the peloton snaked its way along the Boulevard Champlain and up the Côte de la Potasse, Lotto Soudal’s Stefan Dewulf launched a solo attack, but it was short-lived and an intact peloton rounded back on to the Grande Allèe for the bell lap.

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 5:13:01
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
4Diego Ulissi (Ita) Uae Team Emirates
5Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Team Dimension Data
7Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
8Timo Roosen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
9Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) Ag2r la Mondiale
11Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
12Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First
13Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
14Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
15Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
16Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Movistar Team
17Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
18Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
19Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Team Dimension Data
20Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r la Mondiale
21Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
22James Piccoli (Can) Canada
23Mathias Frank (Swi) Ag2r la Mondiale
24Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
25Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team
26Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
27Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
28Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
29Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team
30Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
31Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Uae Team Emirates
32Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
33Nans Peters (Fra) Ag2r la Mondiale
34Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team
35Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
36Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
37Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
38Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:00:10
39Nathan Haas (Aus) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:00:14
40Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First 0:00:21
41Rui Costa (Por) Uae Team Emirates
42Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:30
43Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:32
44Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:37
45Adam De Vos (Can) Rally uhc Cycling
46Rui Oliveira (Por) Uae Team Emirates
47Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team
48Kevin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
49Nathan Brown (USA) EF Education First
50Enrico Gasparotto (Swi) Team Dimension Data
51Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Cycling Academy
52Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:49
53Alex Howes (USA) EF Education First 0:00:56
54Mikkel Froelich Honore (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
55Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
56Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Movistar Team
57Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma
58Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
59Jan Bakelants (Bel) Team Sunweb
60Serge Pauwels (Bel) CCC Team
61Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha Alpecin
62Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb 0:01:05
63Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Uae Team Emirates 0:01:11
64Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:26
65Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
66Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Ineos
67August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy
68Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Canada 0:01:47
69Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:54
70Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
71Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep
72Nicolas Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos
73Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
74Laurent Gervais (Can) Canada
75Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
76Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar Team
77Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
78Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
79Robert Britton (Can) Rally uhc Cycling
80James Whelan (Aus) EF Education First
81Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ
82Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team
83Michael Schar (Swi) CCC Team
84Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
85Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Team Dimension Data
86Ryan Anderson (Can) Rally uhc Cycling
87Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) Ag2r la Mondiale
88Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal
89Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
90Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
91Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
92Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
93Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy
94Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
95Daniel Martin (Irl) Uae Team Emirates
96Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma
97Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos
98Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
99Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
100Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott
101Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:02:18
102Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:30
103Christian Knees (Ger) Team Ineos 0:02:33
104Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
105Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo
106Nigel Ellsay (Can) Rally uhc Cycling
107Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:53
108Jan Polanc (Slo) Uae Team Emirates 0:03:08
109Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
110Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Team Dimension Data 0:03:34
111Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:03:39
112Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:04:07
113Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:04:42
114Julius Van den Berg (Ned) EF Education First 0:04:54
115Jordan Cheyne (Can) Canada 0:05:21
116Charles-Etienne Chretien (Can) Canada
117Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:05:23
118Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Ineos 0:07:22
119Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Ineos 0:10:44
120Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Ineos
121Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb
122Julien Duval (Fra) Ag2r la Mondiale
123Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
124Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally uhc Cycling
125Evan Burtnik (Can) Canada 0:11:02
126Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy
127Matteo Dal-cin (Can) Rally uhc Cycling
128Jose Goncalves (Por) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNFLennard Kamna (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFJohannes Froehlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJosef Cerny (Cze) CCC Team
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) Ag2r la Mondiale
DNFValerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
DNFGrega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
DNFJulien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
DNFLuis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJenthe Biermans (Bel) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNFRick Zabel (Ger) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNFRoman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Dimension Data
DNFGino Mader (Swi) Team Dimension Data
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFSvein Tuft (Can) Rally uhc Cycling
DNFAdam Roberge (Can) Canada

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