MONTREAL (VN) — Canada’s top professional cyclists were in a tough battle with the best riders in the world at Sunday’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.
Ryder Hesjedal, who finished third here last year, finished in eleventh place and took the honors of top Canadian. He was four seconds behind winner Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Movistar). Despite not repeating his podium placing from last year, Hesjedal was pleased with his result.
“I was happy with how I felt today,” said Hesjedal. “Sure, if you look at my results last year, you could say that it wasn’t good, but every year is different.”
“Last year’s race was hard, but this year, the race was a lot harder in the first hour, and it adds up in the legs,” added Hesjedal. “When it is difficult, everyone is just reduced. It just becomes harder to separate yourself when everyone is fatigued.”
David Veilleux (Movistar) was the next best placed Canadian and finished in 22nd place, also four seconds back in the same group as Hesjedal. Veilleux, who was a local favorite, attacked out of a 14-man break that contained fellow Canadians Svein Tuft and Michael Barry with 26km to go. However, he was quickly reeled in by the break.
Barry, the top Canadian at Friday’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, finished in 54th place, 34 seconds behind the winner. Barry and Tom Danielson tried to attack out of the 14-man break with 20km remaining, but were easily brought back.
SpiderTech’s Francois Parisien (SpiderTech) and Tuft finished in 61st and 66th respectively, both at 4:43 back.
Tuft crashed early in the race coming into the final hairpin turn on Parc Avenue on lap 4, but wasn’t seriously hurt and made his way back into the peloton. At the end of lap 14, Tuft attacked, and was followed by a break of 13 other riders that included, among others, Barry, Veilleux, Johnny Hoogerland, Danielson, and Danny Pate.
After the race, Tuft joked that it was a rookie move and that he fell because he came into the turn too hard.
Tuft wasn’t the only Canadian to crash in today’s race. Dominique Rollin was forced to abandon after he was involved in a crash just after the feed zone heading on to Cote Saint-Catherine on the fifth lap.
“I was just eating something, relaxed, and the peloton was resting after a really fast first three laps,” said Rollin. “Then I hit a hole, like usual in Quebec, or it might have been a bottle,” he joked.
“Although I didn’t panic, I lost my bike from beneath me and I fell straight on my face. Thankfully I just have a small cut on my lip, nothing broken,” he added. “It’s unfortunate to crash in your own hometown and to have to abandon.”
SpiderTech’s Ryan Roth finished 108th place, 8:24 back. His teammates Ryan Anderson, Will Routley and Bruno Langlois did not finish.