GP Québec 2018 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By David Hunter

Québec – Québec 201.6km

Time for some circuit racing, Canadian style!

The easier of the two Canadian classics, this is still a race that excites me. The climbs are all short, which usually makes it hard to create a big selection:-

Côte de la Montagne – 375m at 10%.

Côte de la Potasse – 420m at 9%.

Montée de la Fabrique – 190m at 7%.

Montée du Fort – 1km at 4%.

They aren’t overly difficult, the hardest part is usually the grind up to the finishing line. After 200km, the final kilometre is tough going.

No Sagan

With two consecutive titles, Sagan will not be here to make in three in a row. I think you can all hear the other riders celebrating as Sagan is just about unbeatable in this race. Without him, what will happen during the race?

We have the usual mixture of sprinters and puncheurs. Now, the sprinters I speak of are all tough men, not pure sprinters like Andrea Guardini! These guys can all seriously climb, but are their teams strong enough to hold the race together and let them fight for the win?

Hoping to benefit from this are a long line of puncheurs. This race isn’t ideally suited to them, but it’s only been in the last two years this race has become one for the sprinters. We’ve seen previous editions won by Uran, Gerrans(twice), Gesink, Gilbert and Voeckler. I think we can sometimes forget that this is actually a good race for attackers and they can benefit from a well timed move.

No Uran

Without the Colombian, who will make his trademark move in the final 750m. This is an excellent time to move, as most teams don’t have too domestiques left. If you can be patient and conserve energy, this is a great move to make, especially if you have a fast initial turn of speed.


A sunny day, with little wind. Perfect racing conditions.


Sprint Options

Michael Matthews – ended the Binck Bank Tour with an impressive win. The Aussie has endured a tough season, but eventually seems to be hitting some form. His squad will have to do a lot of work to ensure we get a sprint, something they might not be up to.

Sonny Colbrelli – not as fast as Matthews, will Colbrelli ride for the podium or attack? He is a fan of attacking!

With only two proper sprint options, the teams of Sunweb and Bahrain are going to have a lot of work to do. I sense they’re in for a long and complicated race.


Matej Mohoric – currently in the best form of his life. He’s won back-to-back titles, taking home the Binck Bank Tour and the Deutschland Tour. We all knew what a special talent he was, but 2018 has seen Mohoric take enormous strides forward and can now be seen as one of the best in the world. The Slovenian is very fast on the climbs, even faster on the descents and can sprint. Sounds like he’s got in covered.

Michael Valgren – beast alert! Another rider who has taken huge strides forward in 2018. He was very impressive in the Binck Bank Tour and Plouay, just falling short of taking a victory. The next two races are his last big goals of the season, I expect to see him on top form and testing the bunch in the closing stages.

Tim Wellens – another rider who’ll be hoping for a tough race. The Belgian actually packs a strong sprint, but I hope we see him attacking and not waiting for the final kilometre. He was a little unlucky in the Binck Bank Tour, but ran out of gas in Plouay. Now fully in one day mode, Wellens will be a very difficult man to beat.

Oli Naesen – performed well in the final stage of the Binck Bank Tour, then delivered a huge win in Plouay. It was brilliant to see Oli ride so strongly, reminding everyone of just how strong he is. His sprint is fast enough to challenge for the top 5, but I want to see him risking it all and attacking in the final two laps.

Greg Van Avermaet – no Sagan means that Van Avermaet could be ready to win his first title. The Belgian is ending the season in his usual consistent way, but he’s not won a stage of a race since February. Considering how good his 2017 was, he must be a little disappointed with 2018. The end of the season is usually a strong period for him, I’m sure he’s confident of taking some wins over the next few weeks.

Zdenek Stybar – seemed to be back near his best in the Binck Bank Tour and featured heavily in Plouay, but couldn’t follow the big three. QuickStep have enjoyed a brilliant season and Stybar will have lots of freedom in the Canadian races, but this circuit isn’t really hard enough for him to win.

Prediction Time

Not enough teams will ride for a sprint and I think we’ll see a small group battle for the win. Emerging victorious will be Michael Valgren, to cap off a brilliant season.

David HunterFollow us on @CiclismoInterJoin us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

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