GP Montreal: Matthews conquers Canada
“I just can’t thank the team enough for believing in me throughout this really hard year, and again the boys today were amazing,” Matthews said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without such a strong team around me, so I can’t thank them enough.”
Again, the Sunweb sprinter got the better of Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), although this time the Belgian had to settle for third.
“The team did great work so I’m just a bit frustrated that I had to stop my sprint with 100 meters to go because Matthews came from the right side to the left to get into the slipstream of [Sonny] Colbrelli, where I was, so I had to stop my sprint,” Van Avermaet said, adding that he thought he would have won if he’d had a clean sprint.
Bahrain-Merida’s Sonny Colbrelli sprinted to second at the end of the 195.2km race around Montreal.
“Too bad that Matthews overcame me with only 20 meters to go,” the Italian said. “I speeded up from far away. Let me thank to all guys of my team, the boys were very strong today. Anyway, it’s a good second place.”
As is often the case in this one-day race, the finish came down to a sprint between the fast finishers who can survive short climbs.
A five-man breakaway rode off the front by nearly six minutes at times before the peloton began to reel them in.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), winner of the 2015 edition of the race, tried to bridge up as the break grew near. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Merida) and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) also tried to ride across the gap. None were successful and the break was caught.
On the final lap, Wellens, Jacob Fulgsang (Astana Pro Team), and James Knox (Quick-Step Floors) attacked on the Côte Camillien-Houde climb.
Though they accrued a small lead, a breakaway wasn’t meant to survive this time.
The trio was caught and Colbrelli opened up the sprint early, as he usually does. Matthews jumped on the wheel and took the win.
It was Matthews’s fourth victory of the waning 2018 season.