GP Cycliste de Québec: Meersman 6th as OPQS Aggressive in Final KMs
OPQS rider Gianni Meersman contested the hectic bunch sprint finale at the end of 199.1km GP Cycliste de Québec on Friday and earned 6th place.
Just before the sprint Petr Vakoc, along with Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), had bridged to a late race attack of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and the trio had a small gap on the field heading toward the line. However, the peloton was able to make the catch. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) immediately launched an early sprint and it looked like he could possibly surprise the field for the victory. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) was able to pass him meters before the line for the win. Meersman remained in good position to contest the sprint.
On the final lap of the race, Matteo Trentin and Jan Bakelants of OPQS and several other riders bridged to a breakaway to form a 15 rider lead group. Trentin and Bakelants did all they could on the front to keep away from the peloton, but the catch was made for all but two riders with 7km to go, and the race came back together entirely at 6.6km remaining.
"At the beginning of the race I wasn't feeling good," Meersman said. "But my teammates helped me. They told me to save my legs for the last two laps. Then, at the last lap, I felt better. Kevin De Weert brought me into good position before the last climb.. My legs were good so I waited for the sprint. The last kilometers were hectic. We had a headwind and nobody had teammates left to control the race. It was a little bit chaotic in the final. There was also a crash in the sprint, but I came from behind and found the power to move a bit to the front. But I couldn't do better than 6th place. To be honest I'm satisfied. The riders in front of me were really strong at the sprint. Sunday there will be another race. It's a bit harder than today but we will see. Sometimes hard races can still end in sprints. I will do my best for a good result."