GP Cycliste de Quebec: Uran’s the man with surprise victory

The first part of the Canadian double-header came to a thrilling if surprising conclusion with a win for Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step). The Colombian jumped away from a select group in the last 800 metres and held them all off on the uphill run to the line. Michael Matthews came closest to catching Uran, while Alexander Kristoff rounded out the podium for third.

The blue touch-paper was lit on the final 12.1km lap, and with pre-race favourites BMC and Etixx-Quick Step being particularly feisty all we had to do was stand back and wait for the inevitable explosion. With 4km to go it was their riders Greg Van Avermaet and Michal Kwiatkowski who attacked and forced a select group of around 20 top names away. They constantly split and reformed on the ascents as the attacks pinged and were brought back mainly by a BMC team who looked to be firmly in control.

It was gruppo compatto at the start of the final climb and just as the riders were setting themselves for an uphill bunch sprint, Uran seized his moment and just slipped away off the front. A heartbeat’s hesitation to take his wheel and it was game over. He surged away on the steepest part and held them off with a tenacious show of grit as the gradient lessened to take only his second win of the year.

It was a well worked win for the Etixx team with Julian Alaphilippe in particular putting in a series of strong attacks in the closing stages. BMC have to be disappointed with seventh and tenth places after all their dominance everywhere except the last kilometre. They will have the chance to put it right on Sunday in Montreal.

Rider of the day

I hesitate to make this a Rigoberto Uran fest but you know what? His win was so left-field and I was so delighted by it that I’m going to make an exception. Of all the riders on the star-studded Etixx-Quick Step team roster for this race I don’t think anyone would have highlighted his name for the win. Even with the benefit of repeats his surge away from the group was so silkily sneaky that it’s hard to spot until he’s gone. It appears the peloton’s own Mick Jagger had no such doubts. Post-race he said:

I knew this race well, I was third in 2011. I knew with this parcours that there is a chance to anticipate in the last kilometre, and I did it. I kept going on, gave everything and I won.

Yes, you did, Rigo! Plus, just to put the icing on the cake, you came over the line in true Moves Like Jagger style.

Four things we loved

1. One for the home team. It’s not easy when the professionals turn up at your local WorldTour race, but Equipe Canada came with a plan to entertain the crowds and grab some podium time and, boy, did they deliver. Ryan Roth really gave the home crowds something to cheer for. He went out in the break of the day at 10km, fought to stay at the front when a new break was formed and was only swept up with about 17km to go. He wasn’t just break fodder either, riding aggressively to pick up the King of the Mountains jersey and put a home man on the podium at the end of the day. #Chapeau

2. One for the number crunchers. This season has seen the appearance on our screens of data from individual riders such as heartbeat, pedal revolutions and speed. It hasn’t happened for all races, but it does add an extra dimension to those who like to look at the stats. I have to admit I was a bit nonplussed at first, preferring to gauge at rider’s effort by his expression. However last night these two methods combined in a perfect way when a Thomas Voeckler attack was monitored.

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Here he is at ‘not quite full gurn’ which equates to 184 heartbeats and 90 revs per minute, speeding along at 47.4kph. Now we know.

3. #OhQuébec. The Canadian races may only be in their sixth edition but they really are true classics. The Québec parcours is selective and hard enough to produce aggressive racing where any number of outcomes are possible. At what other race would you see a top ten like this? In addition the route through the old town and along the St Lawrence river is simply stunning.

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4. #OhBernie Long-time VeloVoices favourite Mr Bernie Eisel pleased many of his fans this week when he announced his inclusion in the Austrian team for the Worlds road race in Richmond. But hearts fluttered in a completely different manner when race reports mentioned that he had crashed on the first lap and subsequently abandoned the race. Collective breaths were held and fingers crossed but to no avail, the man himself later tweeting…

It’s a bitter blow for any rider and we wish Bernie a speedy recovery.

Result

1. Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step) 5:09:46

2. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) same time

3. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) s/t

4. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) s/t

5. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) s/t

6. Bauke Mollema (Trek) s/t

7. Philippe Gilbert (BMC) s/t

8. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal)  s/t

9. Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) s/t

10. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) s/t

Link: Official race website

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