Aggressive Quick-Step Floors in Montreal
Our team played the attack card on the penultimate one-day race of the World Tour calendar.
The eighth edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal was a spectacular and open race, unlike its Canadian counterpart in Quebec, where a large group contested the victory. Run over a 12.1km-long circuit which included three climbs – Côte Camillien-Houde (1800 m, 8%), Côte de Polytechnique (780 m, 6%) and Avenue du Parc (560 m, 4%) – the 205.7km event saw the action kick off early, with over 50 kilometers remaining, after the day's two escapees got reabsorbed.
Most victorious team of the season, with 49 victories so far, Quick-Step Floors sent multiple Grand Tour stage winner Gianluca Brambilla and experienced Belgian Dries Devenyns to attack, as part of a strong group which opened a 35-second gap and threatened to fend off the efforts of the peloton. Despite having this consistent advantage with less than 25 kilometers to go, the move didn't stick, as not all the riders were committed to giving it their all.
Just before the final lap, another group emerged, and the same Brambilla, this time accompanied by New Zealand ITT Champion Jack Bauer, were part of it, doing some long and impressive turns at the front and helping the margin widen to around half a minute at the top of the hard Côte Camillien-Houde.
On Côte de Polytechnique, the cohesion of the leading group disappeared once new attacks were launched, leaving only six riders in the front. The bunch was just a few seconds behind, but despite a concerted effort, they couldn't bring the sextet back, and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, beating Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac) with a late sprint.
Petr Vakoč – who stayed attentive throughout the entire race – arrived at the line together with the peloton, some 16 seconds later, and sprinted to 13th place. The 25-year-old Czech was thus once again Quick-Step Floors' top finisher in Canada, after two days ago, in Quebec, he took seventh.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele