A spectacular late acceleration saw Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) repeat his 2012 victory in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and move up to third overall in the UCI WorldTour.
The 34-year-old, already a winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège this spring, was once again in top condition in the Canadian Classic, timing his surge past late attacker Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Shimano) to perfection.
For Orica-GreenEdge, Gerrans victory was the 100th in their team history, whilst for the Australian, it represents a solid return to winning form after racing so well in the first part of the year.
“It’s quite different racing on your fourth peak of the season and at this stage of the year I feel like I’m running on fumes,” Gerrans said.
“But you’ve got to play it really smart in these races. I’ve tried to be careful with my training and taking care of myself so that I’ve got something left for the World Championships.”
Before the World Championships, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday will be another short-term goal for the Australian, he has already succeeded in moving into the top three of the UCI WorldTour’s individual ranking.
Whilst Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) remain in the top spots overall, with 462 and 407 points, both riders are taking part in the Vuelta a España.
Gerrans, meanwhile, moves into third with 398 points, six ahead of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team). The Australian is the only rider to make progress in the top 10 of the UCI WorldTour after Friday’s race, although Dumoulin has also advanced 11 places, too, to fifteenth overall.
Gerrans win has also enabled Australia to move up a spot in the UCI WorldTour nations ranking, from seventh to sixth. The only other change in the higher echelons of that classification is largely thanks to 2014 Tour de France stage winner Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin Sharp) taking third in Québec behind Gerrans and Dumoulin. His placing has helped Lithuania to edge its way into 20th overall. At the head of the table, meanwhile, Spain retain their commanding lead, with 1,250 points, over 300 more than second-placed Italy, with 946.
The UCI WorldTour teams classification still remains dominated by Movistar Team, with 1,105 points, well ahead of AG2R La Mondiale who have 889 points. However, BMC Racing Team have now moved from seventh to fifth place, a move mirrored in the opposite direction by Katusha, who drop two spots to seventh. Team Giant-Shimano are the only other team to advance in the top ten, ousting Trek Factory Racing from ninth place overall.
Yet more developments are expected very soon in the UCI WorldTour rankings, with the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal taking place on Sunday – the final day, too, of the Vuelta a España, the third and last of the 2014 Grand Tours.