Haig in the mix as Impey sprints to 11th at the Grand Prix Cycliste de QuébecFri 13 Sep 2019
Australian Jack Haig was in the mix for Mitchelton-SCOTT in a gripping finale to the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec as South African champion Daryl Impey sprinted to 11th place.
Haig forced himself into a small select group inside the closing kilometres that was eventually caught within sight of the line as the day ended in the a reduced bunch sprint.
Six riders quickly established the breakaway as the bunch rolled through the streets of Quebec with the gap eventually growing to a maximum advantage of over right minutes before the peloton pegged it at around the 5’30” mark for much of the 16-lap race.
The race burst into life with 65-kilometres remaining as several attacks began to roll off the front of the peloton, with Dane Chris Juul-Jensen called into action as he followed the moves for Mitchelton-SCOTT. The pace eventually slowed and the pack settled down once again, but the activity in the bunch saw the gap to the breakaway fall to below two-minutes.
But as the tempo settled, Australian Lucas Hamilton hit the floor, with 23-year-old unable to avoid the riders jostling for position ahead of him. Hamilton was quickly back to his feet and managed to chase back into the bunch before the break was reeled in as the pack hit two laps to go.
The Run to the Line
Brit Adam Yates then showed his face at the head of the pack alongside Haig with 10-kilometres left, while Juul-Jensen continued to close down attacks. But despite several attempts from a host of riders, there was no escaping the peloton as teams began to set themselves up for a sprint finish.
The last chance of preventing the day ending in a bunch gallop was on the ramps up to the finish line and it was Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step) who made the move with two-kilometres to go. Just four riders could go with the Frenchman, with Haig the last man to get across as a small select group formed.
It looked like the attackers were going to stay clear to contest the finish as they raced under the one-kilometre to go banner, but as they began to look at each other, the bunch swallowed them up. In the end it was Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) who sprinted to victory with Impey just outside the top-10.
“The plan was to do the sprint today for me. When I saw the favourites moving at two-kilometres to go I reacted too late and never got onto the back of them. That finished me.”
“I tried to sprint from the group behind but the effort I did two-kilometres earlier took it out of me. I should have waited and played it cooler, but hindsight is always a perfect sight. The podium was rounded off from the guys who attacked earlier and to be honest they were just better than me today."
“The team rode a really strong race, we were all sort of always around the front looking after each other and Daryl was the main guy going into the race so we tried to watch out for him and make sure he was protected.”
“Then myself, Adam and Chris were there to try and follow the moves with three to two laps to go, but nothing really happened so it came to one lap to go. On that final lap I followed a couple of moves to see how it went.”
“I managed to get across to the small little group with Alaphilippe and Sagan, but I was just trying to sit on and deter them from getting away so the bunch behind with Daryl could catch up and he could have a good sprint.”
Matt White (Sports Director):
“On the final lap there was the attack from Alaphilippe and Jack and Daryl went clear in that group, but I think that cooked Daryl a little bit and he was a little bit legless for the sprint at the end there.”
“In general, the result is a little bit disappointing, we obviously wanted a better result than that, but the condition of the group was quite good and we look forward to riding what I think will be a much more selective race on Sunday, especially with the extra two-laps.”
“Jack has shown that he’s got some really good one-day form, which is great going into Sunday, the World Championships and the Italian one-day races coming up at the end of the year. As a group I think we’re in a good place and I expect a much harder race in Montreal on Sunday.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec 2019 Results:
1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 5:13:01
2. Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe) ST
3. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) ST
11. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.