The Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec 2011, a slideshow of the cull
Good stuff from JUST north of the border:
If you haven’t been north to the french speaking cities of Quebec and Montreal you are missing a whole host of things to see and piles more to do. Now, if 400+ years of history weren’t enough, the Pro-Cycling circuit has two stops scheduled and they are ALL the reason you need to track down your passport and head up.
This year’s edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste had the added drama of a late season run to be the king of the season long pro cycling points race. Phillipe Gilbert of Belgium came to Quebec needing just a few few points to take the lead from Tour de France winner Cadel Evans who had announced that he was done for the season.
A peleton of more than 170 riders tackled a tough course that winds through the lush park-lands of the Plains of Abraham, shoots down to the St. Lawrence for a long flat and then tackles two grueling climbs up to the iconic Chateau Frontenac. While an early three man break managed to take a lead of as much as five minutes on the main pack the brash break was quickly reeled in within a few laps of the end of the race.
With less than 20km go a more start studded break of 10 formed including a number of the sports big stars, American Levi Leipheimer found himself up front with Dutchman Robert Gesink but also with this year’s one day star Phillipe Gilbert. The crux of the race came on the last major climb as Gilbert dropped the group in emphatic style, while Gesink was able to separate himself from the chase group he was unable to regain contact with Gilbert and the powerful Belgian swept to his 18th victory of the year.
This is a great event, worth every second of the drive. We certainly intend to cover the event next year, but, having said that…don’t take a photographer’s word for it, start planning for next year