Australian Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) won the 2012 edition of Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec in Canada on Friday from a late escape, putting his name forward as one of the favourites for the World Championships road race later this month.
Gerrans followed an attack in the last four kilometres by Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and the two distanced the much reduced peloton to duke it out for the victory. Rui Costa (Movistar) led home the best of the rest for third place.
Earlier, Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) launched an attack with 13 kilometres to go and managed to hang it out until the four kilometre to go marker on the last of 16 laps of the circuit around Quebec.
Van Avermaet then immediately attacked, with Gerrans joining him shortly after. Behind, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) moved to the front of the bunch and then tried to bridge up to the two escapees but uncharacteristically didn’t have the legs to hunt them down. The Slovak finished outside the top ten.
One of the pre-race favourites, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), looked to be struggling with the relentless pace and withdrew from the race part-way through – as did Australian Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
Gerrans adds the Quebec win to his victory at the Tour Down Under in January and Milan-San Remo in the spring.
The double-header of one-day WorldTour races in Canada continues on Sunday with the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec 2012: 201.6km
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 4-53-04
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 1 sec
3. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 4 secs
4. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
5. Tom Slagter (Ned) Rabobank
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
7. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar
8. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Sharp at 5 secs
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
10. Francois Parisien (Can) Spidertech at same time