Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal’22: Pogačar Back to Winning in Canada
Pogačar takes Montréal
Tadej Pogačar won a tough edition of the GP de Montréal on Sunday. After 221 kilometres of racing in the Canadian city, he was the first to finish on Avenue du Parc. The Slovenian from UAE Team Emirates beat Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in a hard sprint from a leading group of five. Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) finished third.
The leading group of the day consisted of six riders: Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ), Théo Delacroix (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Eddy Finé (Cofidis), Andreas Leknessund (DSM) and Antonio Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan). They managed a lead of more than 6 minutes. A total of eighteen laps of 12.3 kilometres were on the program, with the Côte Camillien-Houde (1.8km at 8%), the Côte de Polytechnique (780 metres at 6%), the Pagnuelo (535 metres at 7.5%) on each circuit. The finishing straight on the Avenue du Parc climbed 560 metres at 4%.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2022 profile
UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma set the pace in the peloton and reduced the lead, where Nibali and Finé had dropped out early, to 3 minutes. Especially the team of Tadej Pogačar wanted to make the race hard. A bad day for Biniam Girmay, who felt sick and had to give up five laps before the finish. Peter Sagan also didn’t make it to the finish. Vermeersch, Delacroix and Leknessund survived the longest. They started the last 50 kilometres with a 2:30 lead. Not much later, Leknessund left his two fellow escapees behind. The Norwegian of DSM opted for a solo and had the Jumbo-Visma troops behind him. Wout van Aert’s teammates increased the pace at 35 kilometres from the finish.
The difference to Leknessund was reduced to 1 minute and decreased further and further. At the start of the penultimate lap he was only 15 seconds ahead of the thinned peloton. It was Tobias Foss who narrowed the favourites group even further. The first attack came from Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan) and Frederik Wandahl (BORA-hansgrohe). They were able to gain a 40 second lead and started the final lap with that gap. Daniel Felipe Martínez then opened the final on the Côte Camillien-Houde. His acceleration was followed by Tadej Pogačar, who went straight to the front with Van Aert and Andrea Bagioli in his wheel. Adam Yates was the next to accelerate from behind and he pushed Van Aert to the limit. The Belgian cracked, but was still able to join a group at the top with Yates, Pogačar, Bagioli and David Gaudu. Those five managed to make a gap of more than 30 seconds, because the slowing work in the chasing group.
Romain Bardet, Giovanni Aleotti and Mauro Schmid counter-attacked, but that was well behind the leaders. Yates and Gaudu tried to pull away in the last 3 kilometres, but their efforts were countered. Van Aert was then forced into the lead in the last kilometre. Everything would would come down to the last 560 metres at 4%. The five leaders came to a complete standstill, after which Gaudu was the first to start the sprint. However, the Frenchman didn’t have the legs and was overpowered by Pogačar. The Slovenian had Van Aert on his wheel, but the Jumbo-Visma rider was unable to pass and he had to jump to stay ahead of Bagioli. Van Aert was second and Bagioli third.
Race winner, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “This was no ordinary sprint. The race was very tough. The team worked so well, that was perfect for me. Wout is one of the best sprinters in the world, but this is a tough finish. I gave everything in the sprint and it worked. It’s unbelievable. This course suited me very well. I really enjoyed it and I had a good day. It was one of the toughest races of the year. After the Tour de France I was not in good shape, because I had taken a lot of rest and was mainly preparing for this period of the season. Today I had a good day and that gives me a lot of confidence towards the World championships. It’s always different racing with national teams, but I’m confident and in good shape. It’s going to be a tough race and I can’t wait to start there.”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I was pretty dead in the sprint. I felt really good. The team rode very well to support me, but I was beaten by one of the superstars of cycling. It’s no shame to come second here. It would have been nice to win, but I came up a bit short. I don’t regret anything. It was a beautiful weekend and super nice to experience Canada. I’m going to Australia with good memories. I need the next few weeks to recover and settle in Australia. I hope to do some good training and hopefully that will pay off in the road race. We have a super strong team at the World champs. Our selection is well balanced. Together with Remco Evenepoel I am the leader. We are different types and that fits well together. We can make it a great race.”
3rd, Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “Everything happened on the last lap, and when the attacks of the favourites came I sensed it could be the right moment to go, so I went and did my best to stay there. I felt good despite this demanding course, one of the hardest of the season, and in the sprint I gave everything. I am content with my podium, it’s a good result going into the last weeks of the season, and I hope to come back here one day and win it.”
7th, Giovanni Aleotti (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a super tough race here in Montréal! As a team we had a good plan and the guys did a really good job keeping Frederik, Patrick and me out of trouble all day. In the finale, I didn’t have the acceleration to follow Pogačar and the other four riders but I was able to chase and take a top-10 result here. I’m happy with my performance today and I really want to thank the team for their effort and great work. After a not quite satisfactory result in Québec it’s nice to leave Canada with a good feeling.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 5:59:38
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:01
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:02
6. Mauro Schmid Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:22
7. Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:23
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:28
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:31.