Robert Gesink powers to victory at Grand Prix de Quebec after exciting finale
Last Updated: 14/09/13 9:05am
Robert Gesink: Bagged his biggest win of the season in Canada
Robert Gesink took victory at the Grand Prix de Quebec in a drag race to the line after an exciting finale.
The Dutchman was active in the closing stages of the tough one-day Canadian WorldTour race but still maintained the power in his legs to win a reduced bunch sprint over some esteemed competition.
Fast men Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) were lurking heading under the flamme rouge but neither quite had the strength to overcome the Belkin rider on the slight uphill ramp.
Sagan was forced to sit up inside the final 100 metres, running out of legs as Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Van Avermaet rounded out the podium places in a frantic finale.
Team Sky had arrived at the head of the race on the final circuit in a bid to shut down lone escapee Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) but as the race came back together on the 13% slopes of the Cote de la Montagne Chris Froome had no answer for the accelerations of his rivals.
Terpstra still hung on for seventh after a brave solo effort on the increasingly wet city roads, while Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Sharp) and former Canadian victor Rui Costa (Movistar) bagged big WorldTour points with fourth and fifth respectively.
A quality field gathered in Quebec to tackle 16 laps of an undulating 12.6km circuit, adding up to a punishing 201.6km event.
The trio of Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Leopard), Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Pello Bilbao (Euskatel-Euskadi) escaped late on lap one and forged onwards to build up a maximum advantage of 6:12 by lap three.
Back in the pack Cannondale shouldered much of the responsibility on the front in a bid to set up Sagan, with Movistar also showing intent as the race settled into a rhythm.
With six laps to go the status quo was shattered as BMC Racing put the hammer down, committing three men, including Tejay Van Garderen, to a move which caused panic back in the peloton. The end result saw a group of nine form, with the original escape being joined by the highly motivated attackers.
Saxo-Tinkoff were among those to hit the front and pushed the pace, eventually ensuring the dangerous group were captured on the Cote de la Montagne heading into the final 40km.
After another unsuccessful selection and spots of rain it all came down to the bell lap, Richie Porte arriving to the fore for Team Sky as Terpstra dug deep out front.
Sagan put in a burst the final time up the Montagne but ran out of legs late on, handing the win to a surprised and overjoyed Gesink.