September 08, 2012 (Quebec City, QC) – At this year’s GP Cycliste Quebec City UCI WorldTour, Australia’s Simon Gerrans (Orica GeenEdge was the man of the hour trumping Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) for victory at today’s 201.6km race in a time of 4:53:04 at an average speed of 41.3 km/hr.
Gerrans, who won Milan St-Remo earlier this year, showed the rest of the peloton the meaning of the word “patience” as he escaped from the main group in the last 4km with Van Avermaet to later out-sprinting the Belgian to the line. Third place went to Portugal’s Rui Costa (Movistar) who incidentally was last year’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal winner.
“It’s fantastic to win today,” said Gerrans. “This is some of the hardest racing on the calendar. It’s fantastic racing in Québec on an exciting circuit with great crowds and great ambience.”
It was a great day for Canadian riders who were the first to attack as Martin Gilbert (SpiderTech p/b C10) and Sebastian Salas (Team Canada) went off at the start. The Canucks proved, all day long, that they no longer play second fiddle at the international level with SpiderTech’s François Parisien achieving a top-10 finish and Bruno Langlois (Team Canada) winning the climber competition (KOM).
After a stellar start and several attacks, 25 riders had a gap of almost 50 seconds. Among that group was Sandy Casar (FDJ), Agnoli (Liquigas), Wynants (Rabobank), Dockx (Lotto), Denifl (Vacansoleil), Kroon (Saxobank), Sanz and Guttierez (Movistar), Velits (Quick Step), Matthews (Rabobank), Mori (Lampre), Selvaggi (Vacansoleil) and also Canada’s Giro star, Ryder Hesjedal, one of today’s favourite.
With Hesjedal one of today’s threats the group was more or less condemned as the peloton would not just let them go that easily. Within a lap, they were caught.
That same lap, Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack), Vladimir Gusev (Katusha), Danilo Wyss (BMC), Thomas Leezer (Rabobank), Lucas Euser (SpiderTech) got away and were soon joined by Sandy Casar (FDJ), Hugo Houle (Spidertech) and Marsh Cooper (Canada) forming a breakaway group that gained up to seven minutes on the main field.
That’s when the peloton decided that it was time to take the escapees seriously if they wanted to have a shot at the win. Casar was suddenly dropped as the lead group as Europcar and Garmin Sharp we’re leading the chase tearing the main field apart. But, in spite of all the furious action, they were only caught with 25km to go.
Team Canada’s Langlois and Chris-Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank) initiated the hostilities again as the main field was about to enter the final lap. With Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and Europcar’s David Veilleux putting pressure on the peloton, the panic was felt as half of the pack got dropped.
Canada’s Langlois showed his usual class as he fought bravely until 4km to go, when he and his companion Sorensen got caught. That’s when Van Avermaet and Gerrans made a move that would stick, holding out against the main field to the line.
Behind, Sagan (Liquigas) seemed in control as he was slowly closing the gap on the two men in front, but he failed to seal the deal, and faded with about 75 meters to go. Again, the Australian showed the rest of the world that his Grand Tour wins were no bluff, crossing the line first to pick up the victory.
The thousands of fans we’re delighted with an epic race that’s considered by most riders – including today’s winner – as one of the toughest races of the WorldTour calendar. Until next year’s GP de Quebec, we invite you to join us in Montreal, in two days.
Full results HERE.