Two-times former winner Michael Matthews took a bittersweet second in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, as he came out on top in the bunch sprint that chased home a solo winner.
Benoit Cosnefroy jumped inside the final 2km, and a moment’s hesitation in the bunch meant the Frenchman opened a small gap that was then unable to be closed.
Another superb collective effort from the Team BikeExchange-Jayco riders saw Damien Howson and Tanel Kangert help to control the day’s breakaway, while the rest of the team worked hard at various points to keep Matthews fresh for the latter stages of the race.
Nick Schultz followed various attacks on the penultimate lap as the action really heated up in anticipation of the final, and Matthews was alert and well placed at the front of the race on the last circuit of the city as the tension grew.
However, it wasn’t to be a third win in a row in Quebec for the Australian – a race at which he has also previously finished second and third – as he had to settle for second, but his display served notice of his form ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.
“I’m probably disappointed at the moment, being so close to winning here three years in a row. It was my goal, and I came up second best, but it’s still a great result and I’m looking forward to Sunday.
I guess everyone was probably looking at Wout [van Aert] to chase, as he was probably the favourite here today, and I think he had a rider in the group with Cosnefroy so it was a little bit a case of everyone playing a bit of poker. Unfortunately in the end we were sprinting for second, because Cosnefroy was just too strong.
It is what it is, and I think we have to be happy with second, and we have another opportunity on Sunday. I think my shape is really coming along well towards the World Championships now, so I think another good hit-out on Sunday, and hopefully go for the victory again, before heading off to Australia.”
Matthew White (Sport Director)
“It was a good performance from the team today. We know that Bling is very fond of the circuit in Quebec, winning it multiple times, and it’s a course that does suit him.
We didn’t shirk our responsibility today, we played a big part in controlling the break of the day, and the boys did what they could. Then Bling finished it off with a very good sprint there as the best of the rest. Cosnefroy was just too strong.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, race result:
1. Benoit Cosnefroy, 4:46:56
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), +00:04
3. Biniam Grmay, +00:04
Photo: Getty Images