With three riders up the road, Simon Gerrans won the bunch sprint good for fourth place from an elite group that had formed on the final lap of the GP Montréal. Coming on the heels of his win on Friday in Québec, Gerrans’ strong finish demonstrates a high fitness level ahead of the World Championships in two weeks.
“Simon is in great condition at the moment,” said Sports Director Laurenzo Lapage. “The harder a race is, the better he performs. A finish like we had today fits him perfectly.”
Early attacks gave way to three-rider break that formed inside the fourth lap. The three riders gained a maximum advantage of nearly eight minutes before Europcar, FDJ and Garmin-Sharp began to reel back the move. With the leaders’ advantage hovering around the minute mark, attacks came from the peloton inside the last 50 kilometers.
“The plan today was similar to the plan we used at Québec,” explained Lapage. “Of course we knew that we would need to take some responsibility during the race to bring back moves when necessary. We covered the attacks that we considered threatening, which wasn’t always easy with six riders. The team was great. They all knew Simon could win again today, and they gave him all the support he needed.”
Michael Albasini patrolled the front alongside riders from Europcar, Sky and Lotto-Belisol during the penultimate lap. Sky strung out the field over the circuit’s main climb, and the blistering pace caused a split in the field. Gerrans was one of approximately 20 riders who made the selection.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) attacked seven kilometers from the finish. It was the first of a series of moves that decimated the cohesion in the lead group. Gerrans put in a dig of his own at the five kilometer mark before dropping back to fifth wheel and surveying the situation. Lacking teammates, Gerrans was limited to responding to a select few attacks and elected to allow other riders to close the gap to what turned out to be the race winning move.
“Most teams have eight riders here, and we have only six,” noted Lapage. “That might be the reason we only had Gerro in the front group at the end of the race.”
Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky Procycling) outfoxed Moreno Moser (Liqugas-Cannondale) and Alexander Kolbonev (Katusha) for the win. Gerrans led the first chase group across the line four seconds behind Nordhaug.
“The success the team has had throughout the entire season beginning with Gerro’s win at the Tour Down Under is a result of all the hard work from every single member of the team,” said Lapage. “The passion this team puts into their work is significant. The staff is an integral part of these wins. I’m so proud of what we have accomplished together.”