A week after his prestigious victory in the Bretagne Classic, Valentin Madouas was again among the main contenders in a WorldTour Classic on Sunday. In the Grand Prix de Montréal, the second round of the Canadian’s races, the French champion used his resistance to remain in contention for the podium until the end. On the line, he eventually took fourth place of the day, twelve seconds behind winner Adam Yates, and scored his fourth top-5 of the season in a one-day WorldTour race. Quentin Pacher also entered the top-20 (19th) after an excellent overall team performance.
Two days after the Grand Prix de Québec, a different kind of rider was expected in Montreal. The circuit, much more demanding and including the climb of Camillien-Houde (2.3 km at 6.2%), left little chance for a sprint finish. The route also suited Valentin Madouas more, after the Frenchman proved in shape 48 hours earlier without being able to get away from the peloton. In addition to the huge elevation gain (4000m), the peloton also faced tough weather conditions at the start on Sunday. “We knew that the rain was going to last an hour or so, so we needed to be very focused at the start in case a big breakaway went”, explained Sébastien Joly. “In the end, only Florian Vermeersch got away.” The Belgian led the way for most of the day while the peloton kept him at a reasonable distance. “The race was starting to be too calm in the back, we talked a bit with Valentin, and we thought to revitalize it”, added Sébastien. “We started doing so with Jake and Lada, who did a good job, then other teams came to help us.” The gap quickly closed with the leader, who was caught more than fifty kilometres from the finish. “Lars then did a whole lap on his own, and he did a very good job,” continued the sports director. “It was a bit of a waiting race”, added Valentin. “The guys did a very, very good job of trying to make it harder and then UAE Team Emirates took over, and we just had to try to follow and wait for the race to open up in the last two laps”.
“I missed a little something”, Valentin Madouas
Following a fast pace with three laps to go, the peloton was reduced to around forty riders, then to just thirty or so a lap later. At the beginning of the last 12.5-circuit, Valentin Madouas and Quentin Pacher were still in the leading group. “In the final, we saw the same scenario as last year,” said Sébastien. “It went even faster, and we only found the ten best riders, including Valentin. Quentin wasn’t far too.” In the Camillien-Houde climb, the French champion was unable to follow the first two competitors, but he proved to be among the strongest right behind. “I missed a little something when Yates and Sivakov attacked in the climb,” added Valentin. “I stayed with the group then I tried to make my effort on the next hill. Unfortunately, we only came back at 3-4 seconds, then it became very tactical”. “They looked at each other a bit, as it often happens in this situation”, said Sébastien. “Valentin played it smart and I thought he was going to make the jump in the climb of the University. On this kind of final, you usually have one shot. He put it there, then it came down to the legs anyway”. In the lead, the Sivakov-Yates duo managed to keep a small lead while the counterattacks kept on coming behind. Despite previous efforts, Valentin Madouas found the energy to catch the first chasing group in the last two kilometres.
“He showed once again how solid he is”, Sébastien Joly
Entering the final straight, he could no longer aim for victory, but the podium of the day was still very much in reach. “I tried and managed to close the gap to fight for third place,” said the man from Brest. “I was in a group of five, and I knew that Aranburu was very fast so I took his wheel. I waited for him to crack, but he never did.” After a nail-biting sprint, the French champion therefore took fourth place in Montreal, twelve seconds behind the winner Adam Yates. “It was a very hard and very tiring race”, he said in the evening. “We really felt all the metres of climbing in the last three laps. The weather also made the race harder, but we wanted a hard race. I missed a little something and I’m disappointed not to finish on the podium for the guys who did a very good job, but we’ll be back.” After being second on the Strade Bianche, fifth Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a winner on the Bretagne Classic, the Frenchman added another major performance at the highest level on Sunday. “He managed to fight with the best and finished well with 4th place”, concluded Sébastien. “We’re a bit disappointed because it would have been great to finish on the podium in such a race, but after his victory in Plouay, he showed that he had recovered and that he’s on track for the end of the season. He was really in the mix and showed once again how solid he is”.