Matthews sprints to fifth in fast finale at the GP Cycliste de Quebec

Fri 9 Sep 2016

2016 Tour de France stage winner Michael Matthews came close in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec again today, finishing in fifth place from the reduced bunch sprint after numerous late attacks animated the finale.

ORICA-BikeExchange were ever present at the front of the race from the early kilometres, controlling the bringing back the breakaway before fresh attacks started anew as the speed intensified into the finale.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) took the victory as the last attack was caught in the closing metres by the heavily reduced group of race favourites that included Matthews.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was pleased with the work and positive attitude of the team.

“The team did a great job today,” said Lapage. “After the breakaway went up the road so early our guys took up the responsibility of maintaining control and some good teamwork brought the race back together and kept Michael (Matthews) in a good position.”

“The finale was fairly scrappy with many attacks and closures then more attacks. It is always a hard race here and we needed to adapt our approach for the finish.

“Michael did very well to achieve top five after coming from a little bit behind and in the end we got a good result after some excellent teamwork throughout the day. We look forward to Sunday now and another tough race.”

How it happened:

After yesterday's heavy rain the clouds parted for today’s 16-lap race in Quebec City and the riders rolled out in lovely late summer sunshine.

A group of six escaped after only three kilometres of racing and started to develop an advantage. Fifty kilometres later they had over four minutes on the bunch with a lone chaser in between.

ORICA-BikeExchange were leading the chase alongside Etixx-Quickstep as both teams looked to control the time gap with the lead group now slightly expanded to seven riders and 100kilometres to go.

Despite a few valiant attempts from the leaders, the combined efforts of ORICA-BikeExchange, Tinkoff and Etixx-Quickstep brought the group within 30seconds heading into the final 50kilometres.

Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal) decided that was close enough and jumped clear from the front group. The peloton swept up the remains of the breakaway with Bak now at 45seconds.

The next move came from Luke Rowe (Team-Sky) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quickstep), with the Frenchman attacking from the peloton and quickly passing Bak before exchanging turns with Rowe and gaining 25seconds.

Alaphilippe attacked again and dropped Rowe on the Cote de la Montagne, briefly holding off the bunch before being caught close with two laps to go.

Fresh attacks started to spring immediately with ORICA-BikeExchange continuing with the high pace and shutting moves down from the front of the peloton.

Daryl Impey led the race into the last 15kilometres, burying himself on the short de la Montagne climb with riders losing contact behind.

Tinkoff finally came back to the front inside ten kilometres to go with a lone leader Olivier Naesen (IAM-Cycling) out front at ten seconds.

Naesen was caught before the last ascent of the de la Montagne as Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) attacked followed by Alaphilippe and Gianni Moscon (Team-Sky).

The trio held a sizeable gap with two kilometres to go before before being passed by Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) with the reduced bunch speeding behind.

Uran was caught in the closing metres with Sagan taking the sprint victory and Matthews behind in fifth place.

ORICA-BikeExchange stay with Canadian racing this weekend, with the GP Cycliste de Montreal that takes place on Sunday.

GP Cycliste de Quebec results:

1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 05:07:13
2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) ST
3.  Anthony Roux (FDJ) ST
5. Michael Matthews (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST