Following Friday’s win in Québec, Team Sunweb’s Michael Matthews has taken his second one-day WorldTour victory in three days at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. The Australian finished off another strong display of teamwork to secure his, and the team’s, clean sweep of the Canadian WorldTour races.
Several riders attacked right from the start in Montreal, and it took around 15 kilometres until the break of the day was formed. The five escapees – Owain Doull (Team Sky), Hugo Houle (Team Astana), Nigel Ellsay (Rally Cycling), Adam Roberge (Canada) and Charles-Etienne Chretien (Canada) – had notched up an advantage of 3:30 after 30 kilometres in the saddle, a lead that stretched out to a maximum of 5:30 throughout the day.
The peloton was in no great hurry to reel in the leaders and so the race situation remained constant for quite some time. In the second half of proceedings, the gap of the escapees slowly began to reduce due to the tempo that was set by the teams of the favourites, with Chretien falling back into the main field.
On the third lap the peloton, which at that point was being led by Lotto Soudal and Team Sunweb, reenergised the chase after the breakaway, and the gap to the leading quartet reduced relatively quickly. With 35 kilometres remaining in the race, several riders launched an attack from the peloton, and two were able to bridge the gap to the escapees, but the entire group eventually split up a few kilometres later.
After that, a trio, including Gregor Mühlberger, was able to distance itself from the peloton and establish themselves at the head of the race. Despite an impressive effort by the Austrian BORA – hansgrohe rider, the trio was caught several kilometres later. The race came down to a sprint from a reduced peloton, and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) looked like he would take the victory with 150 metres to go, but Matthews had a bit more strength to take the victory by half of bike length from Colbrelli with Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) in third.
Matthews said after the finish: “Wow! What can I say, I really have no words. I just can’t thank the team enough for believing in me though out this really hard year, and again the boys today were amazing. It wouldn’t have been possible without such a strong team around me, so I can’t thank them enough.”