Matthews finishes strong to win bunch sprint for second in Quebec

Fri 11 Sep 2015

Recent Tour of Alberta stage winner Michael Matthews has continued his return to form ahead of the world championships, winning the bunch sprint for second place at Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec.

After an extremely active final two laps, Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quickstep) slipped off the front in the final kilometres and survived narrowly from a fast closing peloton.

Matthews went wide from the bunch to launch his sprint in attempt to bridge the gap but fell just short, awarded the same finishing time as Uran. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) rounded out the podium in third.

“My team did a lot of work for to place me in the final and I think we can be happy with this result,” Matthews said. "I can only thank them for the incredible work they did.”

Lapage also credited the work of the ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit that contributed to controlling moves in the final laps before also launching San Sebastian winner Adam Yates into a short-lived but dangerous move.

“Michael has shown again he is one of the guys to watch for the next races,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said. “Beating Kristoff in a sprint, he has shown he is up there and it’s a positive sign before Montreal.”

“What Uran did at the end was very strong. Maybe we needed someone at the end to help shut it down but hindsight is a wonderful thing and the guys rode really hard to support Michael.

“We had a plan to wait until the final laps and then make sure we were in all of the important breaks in the end. That was important.”

How it happened:

As the peloton set off for the 2015 Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, they had 16 laps of a tiring 12.6km circuit for 201.6km of racing.

Six riders formed in the first lap and quickly established a lead. After just 30km, their advantage was over nine minutes but the group wouldn’t enjoy that much freedom for long.

Gradually the peloton began to chip away at the margin and with 40km to go just Ryan Roth (Team Canada) and Cesare Benedetti (Bora Argon18) remained in front.

The duo’s advantage was now under one-minute and prompted a series of counter attacks in attempt to bridge across. Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal) and Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Team Katusha) were successful as Benedetti lost touch to leave three in the front.

With two laps to go the trio had just 15seconds but were again boosted by counter moves who joined them in front.  Shortly after the race came back together, but only momentarily as a flurry of further attacks went.

Eventually, it was Uran who snuck off the front and just held on from the fast finishing peloton.

The same ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit will line up again in Montreal on Sunday, confident of competing for another result.

“These two races are comparable,” Lapage said. “The climb in Montreal is a bit longer but it is also a little further from the line so has the opportunity to come back together. Even with the tougher climb, Michael has shown he has the form so it shouldn’t bother him too much.”