I just got back from a quick visit to Quebec City. It was fabulous! Highlights of the event included enjoying buffet meals at the Chateau Frontenac in old town Quebec City, enjoying these meals in the midst of the best riders in the world, racing in a four up sprint competition in front of a very appreciative and enthusiastic crowd, great treatment and support from Canadian Cycling and the GPCQCM, narrowly missing the win in the Canadian Sprint Challenge, (faded in the final 10 metres) but still advancing to the widely televised Pro Tour Sprint Challenge in which Gerald Ciolek (QuickStep) and Fabian Wegmann (Leopard Trek) threw down some serious watts to eliminate my tired legs.
Mathieu Boucher (Canadian Cycling) made the trip a great experience and I even got a chance to meet Canadian legend Steve Bauer (Team Spidertech powered by C10) on the podium.
It was a great day for my track racing bud Remi Pelletier-Roy. In the final of three sprints (12 Canadian riders, with top two advancing each heat, with top two of final advancing to ProTour sprint challenge immediately following), the four of us played cat and mouse. Out of the start ramp, I led for the first 200 metres (pulled the short straw). Screaming down the 6% grade witha 25km/hr wind at our backs, I grabbed a first full of brake as soon as could and topgunned to the back of the group. Once around the cones at the bottom, a 430 metre slog to the line, $1000 dollars and a spot in the ProTour race hovered up the road under the colorful array of finish banners. Cat and mouse ensued. None of us wanted to lead out the sprint considering the strong headwind.
After a few false accelerations and more jockeying, I finally launched my move at 230 metres to go from the back of the 4 man group. I almost established a gap off the start but then just looked to the line. I thought I was cleared but as I looked back under my bike at 30 metres to go, I saw Remi coming by. I didn't hear him at all, I thought I had had it wrapped up! Damn!
But it was good anyway because it was his home town race, he went on to advance all the way to the semi-finals in the ProTour event and with my second place I would still get to participate in the big show. We were quickly whisked off for television interviews, podium ceremonies and then promptly tossed into the ProTour opening rounds. Facing off against the extremely experience Fabian Wegmann
(Leopard-Trek) and the German phenom Gerald Ciolek
(QuickStep), my tired legs had their work cut out for them. Wagmann attacked very early and I didn't know what to make of it. I was told originally that only 1 rider would advance in the ProTour event (because of the increased number of heats) so I was confused why Ciolek let him go, of course I quickly figured out that I must have been mistaken however it was too late and Ciolek was already stuck to my rear wheel. It was fascinating to compare my power files between the efforts, perhaps if my legs were fresher I would have been able to avoid opening a gap in the earliest parts of the sprint.
All in all, uphill sprints make sure the strongest rider wins but they do take a toll on the body. My back went out later that night and it was a bit of a difficult travel home in time for the RBC Whistler Gran Fondo on Saturday morning.
A bit shout out to Westjet stewards Marilyn, Sharon, Erica and Kendo! We flew to and from Quebec City together on Wednesday and Friday and they were super awesome, with extra cookies, plane-wide announcements about Team Exergy and helping me find extra space on the place to rest my tired legs.
ProTour Sprint Challenge:
Front Cover of Quebec City's biggest newspaper: La Soliel
Labels: Road Report