Albasini just outside the top twenty in QuebecFri 8 Sep 2017
Multiple Tour de Romandie stage winner Michael Albasini placed just outside the frontrunners at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec in Canada as ORICA-SCOTT battled for position to contest the sprint.
A predictable and patient race played out over 201kilometres with four leaders going away early before finally being caught by the bunch with 20kilometres left to race.
Tentative attacks peppered the lead up to the final with Otztaler Pro 5500 winner Roman Kreuziger off the front on the final climb, but caught with two kilometres remaining.
Mitch Docker took up the charge and held the front of the race together into the final few hundred metres before a slightly messy bunch sprint unfolded with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) taking the win and Albasini and Daryl Impey close behind.
“We knew how the bulk of the race would play out, it’s always the same here,” said sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “The last two laps are the key to getting a result and positioning is all important especially over the last two ramps into the finish.”
“Unfortunately we were caught out of position for the sprint and with this type of finish you can’t get back in if you are out of the top ten riders. Mitch did a great job to keep things together and bring back the late attacks, but we weren’t close enough to eh front once the sprint unfolded.
“Going into the last few kilometres we were looking good and had done everything right, Roman looked to shake things up and isolate a few guys on the last time over the Cote de la Montagne and it worked to an extent and he showed he’s in strong shape.
“We need to take more confidence into that kind of finish and make sure we get into those top positions, now we look ahead to Sunday and try again. There are positives we can take from today, but it will be another hard race.”
How it happened:
Heavy rain in the days leading up to the eighth edition of the GP Cycliste de Quebec abated on race day as the riders got underway in dry conditions and darted straight into a fast and attacked filled series of early circuits.
Eventually a quartet of riders went clear and formed the breakaway, quickly gaining a developing lead that reached ten minutes after 50kilometres of racing.
The lead did not start to fall until the final 75kilometres of racing with Bora-Hansgrohe and BMC active at the front of the peloton.
The breakaway lost a member inside the last 60kilometres as more teams began to contribute to the chase, the gap falling rapidly over the closing circuits the leaders were finally caught on the penultimate lap as fresh attacks sprang from the bunch.
Ruben Plaza stretched out the peloton into the final 20kilometres as the rotation and fight for position started ahead of the penultimate time over the Cote de la Montagne.
A game of cat and mouse ensued with numerous attacks brought back including a late move by Kreuziger on the final climb before a tactical sprint decided the race with Sagan moving late to take the win and Albasini the best placed for ORICA-SCOTT.
GP Cycliste de Quebec results:
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 05:00:31
2. Greg van Avermaet (BMC) ST
3. Michael Mathews (Sunweb) ST
22. Michael Albasini (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:02
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com