Kristoff up to second in UCI WorldTour as Uran captures Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
Rigoberto Uran’s daring last-ditch effort distanced the remainder of the splintering peloton and allowed the Colombian to claim a prestigious one-day win, ahead of Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) and a narrowly defeated Kristoff in the closest chasing group.
We had a super strong team with riders like [Michal] Kwiatkowski and [Julian] Alaphilippe, who were very active in the race," Uran said. "Our tactic was to wait for the last kilometre and then have a go at it, and it worked.”
Kristoff’s third place in the Grand Prix has significant consequences for the UCI WorldTour individual rankings, moving the Norwegian up from fourth to second place. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), currently disputing the Vuelta a España, remains the overall leader with 532 points, whilst Kristoff’s new total of 453 points allows him to overhaul both Chris Froome (Team Sky), third with 422 points and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), in fourth with 407 points. Further down the top ten overall, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), thanks to his tenth place in the Grand Prix Cycliste inches ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha) into sixth place, whilst Uran makes a significant gain of seven places, moving from sixteenth into ninth overall.
The UCI WorldTour nations ranking remains largely unchanged, with Spain, with 1,582 points, clearly leading well ahead of closest pursuer Great Britain with 973 points and Colombia strengthens its third place with an 80 point increase taking its total to 894 points. Australia make the only gain in terms of placings, moving up from seventh to sixth.
Kristoff’s third place bolsters Team Katusha’s first place overall in the UCI WorldTour team rankings ahead of Team Sky, rising from 1,270 points to 1,320 points compared to their nearest rival’s unchanged total of 1,246 points. In the only ranking change in the WorldTour teams classification, BMC Racing Team’s increased total of 804 points, however, gains them access to fifth place, ousting Tinkoff-Saxo, who drop to sixth with 791 points.
UCI WorldTour one-day racing continues on Sunday with the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, the second of the two Classics to be held on Canadian soil, and as with Québec case offering a valuable reference point and form guide for the upcoming World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
Featuring an almost identical line-up to the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, three previous winners of the GP Montréal, Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky), Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) are set to take part. So too will be Uran, Matthews, Kristoff and all the top finishers from Friday’s previous Canadian UCI WorldTour race.
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal is 205.7 kilometres long, on a 17 lap, 12.1 kilometre circuit. In total, the one-day Canadian Classic has 3,893 metres of vertical climbing, almost as much as a full mountain stage of the Tour de France or the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic in the Belgian Ardennes. There are two full-scale ascents on each lap as it circles Montreal University, the Camillien Houde and the Cote de la Polytechnique. Last but not least, the finish on the Avenue du Parc comes at the end of a steadily rising, 560 metre ascent, averaging a deceptively easy four percent gradient.
An equally demanding race, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal’s marginally flatter finale allows for the allrounders to have a somewhat better chance of success. But in any case, the relentless series of climbs in central Montréal tends to ensure a thrilling battle for supremacy until the last kilometre - just as happened in this year’s Grand Prix Cyliste de Québec.