By Jonny Long
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) successfully defended his GP de Québec title after beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the bunch sprint finish of the 2019 edition.
The Australian was the only one of the top three not involved in a small breakaway group that went away with 2km to go, bursting through as the bunch closed the gap and unleashing his sprint, with Sagan pipping Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) to the line behind.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) had gone on the attack with 1.8km remaining as the gradient kicked up, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) immediately getting on his wheel. A group of five then rode away from the bunch, with Van Avermaet, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) getting involved.
Under the 1km banner, Sagan then attacked, flicking his elbow 100m later as Alaphilippe took over at the front as the peloton were in sight behind.
With 500m to go, the peloton were nearly within touching distance as Sagan checked over his shoulder, hesitant to lead the sprint out.
As the groups came back together, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) launched, which ignited the sprint, as Alaphilippe led out Sagan on the left hand side and Van Avermaet slotting in behind the Slovakian.
However, Michael Matthews had saved his legs in the bunch and exploded up the right hand side, pulling clear and checking behind him to see he'd easily won the sprint against the Olympic and three-time world champion.
The racing in Canada continues on September 15 with the GP de Montréal, as the star-studded start list keep in mind the upcoming Yorkshire World Championships.
GP de Québec 2019: Québec to Québec (201.6km)
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb, in 5-13-01
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
8. Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
10. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
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