The Canadian WorldTour Weekend kicked off with Arnaud De Lie winning Friday’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, the rising star’s first WorldTour victory and one taken in extraordinary fashion. The Belgian who plies his trade for Lotto-Dstny is the youngest winner of the GP Québec by five years. As usual, Guillaume Boivin was the best Canadian in 40th.
The 12th edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec was 16 laps of 13 km, each containing the 400-metre long Côte des Glacis, a hill of 5.3 percent.
It’s race day in Québec! The guys are ready and motivated for a good day out on “home” soil 👊
🛣️ 201.6km (16 laps)
⏰ 11:00 (17:00 CEST)
— Israel – Premier Tech (@IsraelPremTech) September 8, 2023
Last season’s surprise winner Benoît Cosnefroy was back, as was two-time champion and last year’s runner-up Michael Matthews. Julian Alaphilippe, Adam Yates, Christophe Laporte, Mattias Skjelmose, Matej Mohorič, Biniam Girmay, Michael Woods and, why not, Derek Gee were all likely lads. Woods and Gee’s teammate Guillaume Boivin was top Canadian last year.
The first two riders who bounced clear on lively Lap 1 were brought back, and then Team Canada’s Ben Perry and another fellow tried their luck. This move didn’t get far and by Lap 2, a quartet was out front. This intrepid foursome stayed ahead for most of the race, Soudal-Quick Step’s Mauri Vansevenant picking up KOM points atop Côte des Glacis.
On Lap 13 the breakaway was caught. Things would be very cagey from now on. Vansevenant’s teammate Fausto Masnada made the first acceleration after it came together. Derek Gee led the pack into Lap 14.
There was some bumping and banging in the peloton. Lotto-Dstny grabbed the wheel, but it was Lidl-Trek that pulled the bunch up Côte des Glacis, thinning the numbers.
On the penultimate lap Ben Healy killed it on the Côte des Glacis. The pressure popped many off the back including Gee, but it didn’t look a definitive thinning out of the numbers. Nicola Conci overcooked a corner and almost collided with a large traffic cone.
Chris Harper led the pack into the bell lap. Would the big move come before the Côte des Glacis? The tension was ratcheted tight. Cosnefroy’s AG2R-Citroën led into the…