Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did well to get in the mix in Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec this Friday.
After finishing in sixth place last year, Nathan Haas and the rest of the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were eager to take on the Canadian one-day race. Early in the race, a break of four riders distanced the peloton and opened up a significant gap. The teams of the race favorites seemed content with the situation and they kept the gap at around seven minutes.
As the riders took on the last 50 km, the distance between the pack and the breakaway started to shorten. BORA-hansgrohe and BMC Racing Team set a high pace and the gap quickly started to come down. Ultimately, it all came back together with just over 15 km left to go.
Several riders tried to get away on the final kilometers, amongst them Natnael Berhane, but nobody succeeded. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders put in a strong effort to keep Haas in a good position for the expected uphill bunch sprint. However, as Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) attacked under the last-kilometer-banner, Haas got boxed in a little and lost a few positions. At the end, the 28-year-old Australian finished in 13th place as Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) outsprinted Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) to take the win.
Oli Cookson – sports director:
“We had Ben [O’Connor] and Tyler [Farrar] to look after Nathan [Haas] for the first three quarters of the race. Then, in the final, Natu [Berhane] followed some of the dangerous attacks, while Steve [Cummings], Reinie [Janse van Rensburg] and Kristian [Sbaragli] put Nathan in a good position. This year, the last 20 km were much more controlled and less fast so the group was much bigger with fresher guys than usually. Therefore, there were a lot of very fast guys able to sprint at the end”.