It is time for the annual visit to Quebec.
Here you have the lap. It is the same that has been used in the past. Starts off on Grande Allée Est, before moving through the Parc des Champs-de-Bataille on wide roads. Afterwards, the descending section with two sharp hairpins before the long straight on Boulevard Champion towards the two climbs.
First is the Côte de la Montagne. Positioning is key here. Starts 3750m from the line.
Next up is the Côte des Glacis. This is where Cosnefroy attacked and took a solo win in 2022. Starts 2250m from the line.
Followed by an uphill finish. A strong man sprint.
Lovely weather for a few hours of cycling.
How does the race unfold?
In many of the last editions, we have seen a sprint. It is the usual scenario but it is possible to attack late and hold off the remaining peloton. The attacking starts early, but the race is not hard enough to isolate the favorites. That means the group behind have enough domestiques to help chase down the break. It is often on the last lap, we see someone being able to make the difference, yet Côte de la Montagne and Côte des Glacis do not seem difficult enough to create an elite group holding off.
If you want to do a Cosnefroy, you better be the strongest rider that day. Not only the attack has to be perfect but holding the chasers off on a 4% slope on 1 km is difficult, especially since we had a headwind on the final straight in 2022. Therefore, the biggest chance is a reduced strong man sprint.
Cosnefroy – last year’s winner. I think it would require the same from him tomorrow as it did in 2022. It would require him to have one of those days. The day where he is one of the best puncheurs in the World. The form looks good enough to give it another go.
Hirschi – I think he is the best option for UAE. The form is looking good. He too should look to do a Cosnefroy (attack solo on the last climb) or hope for a reduced group sprint.
Laporte – has the option of sprinting. I don’t weigh the 75th in Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France too much, he will be fit to fight for the win. He goes well on these climbs and played a big roll in WvA’s 4th place here last year.
Benoot – attacking option for Jumbo-Visma. He seems to be having good legs.
Skjelmose – a real criterium racer. Danish Nationals, Worlds, Vejle-stage in Tour of Denmark and lastly Maryland Cycling Classic. He goes exceptionally well in these races.
Mohoric – Tour de Pologne and and stellar performance in Renewi Tour. Something tells me he has more left. He would rather attack than wait for the bunch sprint.
Powless – another attacker. He is a better one-day racer than polka-dot-jersey hunter.
Matthews – he has a few wins here already. He will likely be the favorite if it comes down to a bunch sprint.
De Lie – can he hold on? Many riders would not like that at all. The team does not look strong enough to control it either.
Madouas – last pick was difficult. Winning Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France gives him the spot.
⭐⭐⭐ Matthews, Laporte
⭐⭐ Skjelmose, Hirschi, Powless
⭐ Madouas, De Lie, Benoot, Cosnefroy
Who will win?
I fancy the attackers and the teams with numbers. A late solo attack for Benoot.