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Wout van Aert stymied in rare misfire at GP Québec: ‘We chose to gamble’

Jumbo-Visma controls the race until the closing moments and misses the podium in first of two Canadian races.

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QUEBEC, Canada (VN) — All eyes were on Wout van Aert at the Grand Prix de Québec, and Benoit Cosnefroy took full advantage to deliver a stunning late-race solo attack that caught out the favorites.

Van Aert cursed a rare misfire as he could only watch the Canadian WorldTour race slip away from his grasp.

“We chose to gamble behind him and wait for other teams, but when we’re at a half-K, we already knew that Benoit was out of reach and I launched my sprint really early to give it a chance to be on the podium,” Van Aert said at the line. “I guess Matthews and Biniam could pass me.”

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Van Aert finished fourth, with Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) rounding out the podium behind Cosnefroy.

Jumbo-Visma held up its end of the bargain to control the peloton packed with big names, but Cosnefroy uncorked the surprise move.

“The whole maybe looked like it was under control, but it takes a lot of energy,” Van Aert said. “I am disappointed because the team rode really well, and the team was always under control. Then you want to finish it off, but it’s not really a Play Station.”

Wout Van Aert: ‘It is not really a Play Station’

Jumbo-Visma worked to control the race early. (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

The fourth place was the first time Van Aert did not win or was not on the podium since he returned to racing after the Tour de France.

Van Aert won the BEMER Cyclassics in Germany and was second at the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France before arriving in Canada this week.

“I am happy with how I felt today,” Van Aert said. “There were some really strong guys there. In a sprint like this, you always have to make a decision where you push your effort. For a guy like me, it makes sense to ride more defensive, and strong guy like Cosnefroy has only one chance.

“There is a little bit of hesitation, and it’s hard to catch him,” Van Aert said. “It was necessary because it was a tough moment, but I really enjoyed racing in Canada.”

Van Aert will have one more chance to win at Sunday’s GP de Montréal before heading to Australia for the worlds.

“There’s another chance on Sunday, and it’s an even harder race. We will see how it goes. There will be more guys like Pogačar and like Gaudu, and the real climbers will come closer to victory there I believe.”