The 7th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec usually comes down to a field sprint and the seventh edition went along with tradition, with Team KATUSHA’s Viacheslav Kuznetsov taking tenth from the mass sprint won by current world champion Peter Sagan. It was a good result for Kuznetsov, 27, showing his form is still holding up in the latter part of the 2016 racing season.
- My goal today was to be on the podium. The guys did a good job but I only managed to be in the top ten. I think this isn’t so bad for this part of the season, although I was definitely trying for something more. There is still another race in front of us on Sunday in Montréal and we have good guys for this race also - we will try again for a podium. In theory Montréal is not my type of race and we have good climbers in that race, like Simon Špilak and Ilnur Zakarin. I am feeling quite good on the climbs right now so I think I can help them, or if they don’t go so fast on the hills I will try to stay with the group in case it is a sprint. We will see on the day after tomorrow, - said Viacheslav Kuznetsov.
Sagan emerged from the pack on the long uphill drag to the finish line to take the win ahead of Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Anthony Roux of FDJ. All of the sprinters finished on the same time of 5:07:13 (39.373 km/h).
Almost from the start of the 201,6km, 16-lap race in the heart of Old Québec, a break went clear that included Team KATUSHA’s Maxim Belkov. The 8-man breakaway worked well together as they ticked over the laps to hold more than four minutes, riding through the picturesque and hilly terrain of one of the oldest cities in North America. But the last few laps saw the race come back together before a flurry of late attacks tried to shape the results. In the end it was Peter Sagan coming from mid-pack to win on the line, overtaking last year’s winner Rigoberto Uran to deny a repeat performance.
Team KATUSHA have another chance on Sunday to try for a result on Canadian soil. The teams will transfer via train on Saturday morning and prepare to race the GP Montréal on Sunday. At 205,7km and 17 laps, the circuit features a demanding climb that could play into the strengths of the team climbers.
Photo © Tim De Waele