Team Sunweb had an active weekend in Québec, Canada, racing a pair of WorldTour events—the GP de Québec and the GP Cycliste de Montréal—and scoring strong results with its lead sprinter Michael Matthews racing on his TCR Advanced SL team bike.
With the help of his teammates, the 26-year-old Aussie made the podium at the first race, Friday’s GP de Québec, and finished top-10 in Sunday’s GP Cycliste de Montréal.
Matthews, winner of two stages and the points classification at the Tour de France in July, has retained his top form and looked strong in the two late-season Canadian races—which drew a deep field of talented one-day racers.
The first of the two races, the GP de Québec, saw riders complete 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit on a course that is defined by short, steep climbs and a final ascent to the finish line. After an early break of four riders built up a large time gap of close to 10 minutes, Team Sunweb helped lead the chase.
The break was caught with 15km to go, setting up a series of counterattacks in the closing kilometers. But in the end, the main group charged into the final kilometer intact, and Matthews was able to sprint to a third-place finish behind the day’s winner, world champion Peter Sagan, and second-place Greg Van Avermaet.
“The team worked really hard today,” said Matthews, who wore the Giant Pursuit aero road helmet. “Tom [Dumoulin] took me from one kilometer to go and did the lead-out for me. I just missed that little bit extra to make it a winning sprint, but I feel like I get stronger with each race back again.”
Sunday’s GP Cycliste de Montréal also featured a hilly circuit. The main challenge on the 12km lap around the city center of Montréal was Mont Royal, a steep 3km climb. Again, an early break went clear, but this time it didn’t last as long. Two riders off the front were reeled in with 85km to go, and a series of attacks formed after that.
In the end, a six-man break made it to the finish-line ahead of the main field, with Italian Diego Ulissi taking the win. Matthews was at the front of the main group that finished 16 seconds back, sprinting to an 8th place finish.
“In the final I was a marked man, but the team worked really hard,” Matthews said afterward. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the result that we came for, but we can be proud of how we raced. We tried with Tom to jump across to the six men out front, but it didn’t work out as the chase wasn’t coordinated enough to close the gap.”
With just three races left in the 2017 World Tour calendar, Team Sunweb has two riders ranked in the top-10 overall. Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin is third overall, and Matthews is seventh.