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Slovak star Sagan takes second straight Quebec race ahead of Avermaet

Peter Sagan of Slovakia raises his arms in victory as he wins his 100th professional race, at the UCI Grand-Prix cycliste Friday, September 8, 2017 in Quebec City. Second place finish Greg Van Avermaet, of Belgium, left, looks on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
September 08, 2017 - 3:30 PM

QUEBEC - Peter Sagan won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec for a second year in a row and claimed his 100th career race victory in a tight final sprint on Friday.

Sagan, the Slovak leader of the Bora team, finished the 201.6-kilometre race — 16 laps of a hilly 12.6-kilometre circuit — ahead of BMC Racing's Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium and Sunweb rider Michael Matthews of Australia at the front of a 35-man sprint.

Top Canadian Guillaume Boivin of Montreal finished in the lead group, who were all timed at five hours 31 seconds (5:00:31). Boivin rides for the Israel Cycling Academy, an Israel-based pro team. Bruno Langlois of Matane, Que., led Team Canada in 52nd place at 5:00:48.

The 27-year-old Sagan, the reigning world champion, is chasing leader and 2016 Olympic champion Van Avermaet for top spot in this year's UCI world rankings.

He joked about his 100th win in a trackside interview that "it's better maybe to live 100 years."

The UCI World Tour teams will race again Sunday in Montreal, where Van Avermaet won last year ahead of Sagan.

Sagan also won in Montreal in 2013.

"The race is long and unpredictable," Sagan said of the Montreal circuit up and down Mount Royal in the centre of the city. "Little things can happen and you can be injured or something.

"I'll do my best and we'll see what happens."

The early laps saw Quebec City-area rider Pier-Andre Cote join a four-man breakaway group. Cote dropped out with six laps to go while American Tyler Williams and Belgians Baptiste Planckaert and Tosh Van De Sande were absorbed with two laps left.

"Even if I wasn't able to finish the race, I'm happy that I gave it everything I had," said 20-year-old Cote.

Classified 29th, Boivin was top Canadian for a second year in a row.

"I'm a little disappointed with my performance," said Boivin, 28. "I didn't deliver the goods.

"My form was there, but I was missing a little energy over the last 300 metres."

For a third year in a row, Rigoberto Uran tried to break away late in the final lap, but the Colombian who finished second at the Tour de France was overtaken as the favourites moved into position for a mass sprint.

The Quebec City and Montreal events, now in their eighth year, are the only World Tour races in Canada. They are seen as good preparation for the world championship road race Sept. 24 in Bergen, Norway.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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