Etixx - Quick-Step's tactic in the final kilometers worked to perfection, as they attacked or chased down moves incessantly with riders like Julian Alaphilippe, Michal Kwiatkowski, and finally Rigoberto Uran in the 201.6km Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday. Uran's attack heading into the last kilometer turned out to be the winner, earning Etixx - Quick-Step its 51st road win of 2015, and the second win of the same day.
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Matteo Trentin also won Aviva Tour of Britain Stage 6 earlier on Friday.
Alaphilippe attacked with 1.9km remaining, before Robert Gesink (LottoNL - Jumbo) bridged to him. However, the peloton brought both of them back prior to the flamme rouge. There was some disorganization at the front, and that is when Uran accelerated, drifting off the front, and successfully holding off the peloton for the win.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Kwiatkowski also went off the front with 3.6km to go, and eventually they were caught to form a lead group of about 13 riders. However, there was a regrouping with 2.7km remaining.
Alaphilippe attacked earlier, at 15.7km left to race. Some riders went with him, but they were brought back a little less than two kilometers later. Alaphilippe was also part of a prior lead group of 12 riders. However, they were caught at 17.5km remaining.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec is known for attacks conditioning the race, particularly within the final lap. The race is a 16-lap circuit of 12.6km for a total of 201.6km. It is a course for climbers and skilled descenders, and also includes an uphill finale. The climbs of the race include Cote de la Montagne (375m, 10% average gradient), Cote de la Potasse/Des Glacis (420m at 9% average gradient), Montee de la Fabrique/Des Jardins (190m, 7% average gradient), and Montee du Fort/Saint Louis/Grande Allee (1km, 4% average gradient).
Etixx - Quick-Step demonstrated the season-long aggressive attitude of the team, taking chance after chance until one worked with Uran. It is the second victory of the season for the Colombian rider, who is also the Colombian ITT Champion.
"For me this is a big relief after a season that was a bit unlucky, with a lot of small problems," Uran said. "But I never gave up. After Le Tour de France I said 'ok I have to keep the concentration and effort up.' I worked hard to be ready for this point of the season, and the result is there with a victory. I knew this race well, I was 3rd in 2011. I knew with this parcours that there is a chance to anticipate in the last kilometer, and I did it. I kept going on, gave everything and I won. Now I know for sure the condition is there. On Sunday we have another race, but on paper it is a little less selective than today in Québec so there is less chance for me to do well. But I am confident in my sensations, and also confident in my teammates who arrived with good motivation. These are strong guys who arrived physically ready, and it showed with how we attacked in the final kilometers. After these races in Canada have the UCI World TTT Championship coming up in the next days, and then there is the UCI World Individual Time Trial Championship. So, there is a lot of room to keep doing well for the team. It'd be nice to do well in the TTT. We'll see, but for now I'd like to enjoy this victory."
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