Sagan defends his title at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

The pack stuck together throughout most of the 8th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. Here, they bike at top speeds along boulevard Champlain, before reentering the Old City.

Cyclists had perfect weather conditions for the 8th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (GPCQ) on September 8. The international competition attracted 160 elite male riders from 30 countries making up the 18 world teams, including the wild-cards – the Canadian Team and Israel Cycling Academy. In just over five hours, they completed 201.6 km, around Old Quebec City and the Plains of Abraham.

As the top four cyclists raced through the streets of the Old City they tried to surpass each other at every turn, but everything came down to the final hundred metres.

Slovakian Peter Sagan of the Bora-Hansrohe team defended his 2016 GPCQ title, beating out 2016 GPC of Montreal champion Belgian Greg Van Avermaet of the BMC Racing Team. Australian Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb was close behind.

The Best Climber title went to Austrian Lukas Pöstbelger, and Canadian Guillaume Boivin, racing for the Israeli team, won the Best Canadian cyclist title. Despite finishing second, Van Avermaet hopes to win the UCI World Tour champion title at the end of the season.

“Year after year, the organization of the GPC of Montreal and of Quebec City work hard to attain one goal, which is to offer… ideal conditions in order to make the competition on Quebec soil the most enjoyable, while maintaining a level of excellence, corresponding to the highest demands,” said Serge Arsenault, president of the GPC of Montreal and Quebec City.

The GPCQM started in 2010, making it the first UCI WorldTour race in the Americas. ​ The Quebec City and Montreal races helped globalize the sport and provide opportunities to the rise of homegrown talent by inviting Canada’s national men’s cycling team each year. Past team members included the first two Quebecers to complete the Tour de France, David Veilleux and Antoine Duchesne.

Before long, the races attracted the cream of the pro racing crop, including four Tour de France winners, World Champions and 2016 Olympic gold Medallist Greg Van Avermaet. There’s also Robert Gesink, the first man to have won in both Quebec City and Montreal. In 2014, Australia’s Simon Gerrans made history as the first man to win both races in the same year.

World Tour riders Ryan Anderson (99)* and Antoine Duchesne (56) led Team Canada. Duchesne was a member of Canada’s Olympic squad in Rio 2016, and won the Climber’s Jersey at Paris-Nice. Anderson finished second at Polynormande in 2016.

Team Canada also includes three current Canadian national champions: current elite road champion Matteo Dal-Cin (107), the Under-23 champion Marc-Antoine Soucy (DNF), and the Criterium champion Pier-Andre Cote (DNF).
The only two Canadians not on Team Canada, Guillaume Boivin (29) and Benjamin Perry (141), are members of the Israel Cycling Academy.

For more information and full results, visit www.gpcqm.ca.

*The numbers in parentheses are the cyclists’ official final placement in the GPCQ. DNF = did not finish.