The second Canadian WorldTour men's race of 2023
- Dates 10 September
- Race Length 221 kms
- Start Montreal
- Finish Montreal
- Race Category Elite Men
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 overview
Taking place in the French-speaking province of Québec, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal form part of a Canadian double-header, in which the WorldTour takes its only trip to North America of the entire season.
The second of these two one-day races is the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, which has always been regarded as the harder race, featuring 1,700m more climbing than its Québécois counterpart.
The GP de Montréal ends a thrilling week of racing in North America that begins with the Maryland Cycling Classic presented by UnitedHealthcare.
The GP de Montréal is a different beast entirely compared to its sister Canadian Classic. Whilst both races feature city circuits that have now become well-known in professional cycling, the GP de Montréal features 4,843m of climbing this year, which is more than some of the toughest mountain stages at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Nonetheless, the race is often decided by a small group sprint up the long drag to the line in the city centre.
Eighteen WorldTour teams and three ProTeams will line up at this year’s GP de Montréal, with Bahrain Victorious, AG2R Citroën and Jayco AlUla all bringing imposing outfits to the race. UAE Team Emirates won the race through Tadej Pogačar last season, but neither he nor second-placed Wout van Aert will be back this year. Instead, eyes will turn to the startlist’s stronger climbers such as Simon (Jayco AlUla) and Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious).
The GP Montréal debuted in the same year as its sister race, back in 2010, and like the GP Québec it has created one of the most well-known city centre circuits in the sport of cycling. The race features 18 laps of a 12.5km-long circuit, with each lap containing three tough climbs. One of the climbs, the Côte Camilien-Houde, is the longest the riders will face all weekend, at 1.8km. It’s also one of the steepest, averaging 8% to the top with some ramps in between reaching double figures.
Just like the GP de Québec, this race finishes with a long, uphill drag to the line on the Avenue du Parc, a 600m-long section of tarmac that rises at a steady gradient of 4%. The hilly lap-circuit makes this an incredibly attritional race and one that favours the real one-day specialists of the peloton, like Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews and Greg Van Avermaet - all former winners of this race.
The GP de Montréal may be the hillier of the two Laurentian Classics, but it routinely finishes in the same way as its sister race - with a slow motion, uphill sprint between a select group of elite riders.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 key information
Date: September 10, 2023
Editions: 12 (as of 2023)
First Winner: Robert Gesink
Most Recent Winner: Tadej Pogačar
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 route
Montréal → Montréal (224.9km)
The route for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal is absolutely relentless, with barely a kilometre of flat road in the entire race. Taking place around the grounds of the Université de Montréal at the heart of the city centre, the race consists of 18 laps of a 12.3km circuit, with 269m of climbing each and every lap.
© Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 route
With very few long straights, this course is fairly technical and an attack can get out of sight fairly quickly, making it quite easy for a small group to get away.
The race is defined by three short, but steep ascents that sap the legs before the drag to the finish line along the Avenue du Parc. The toughest of these ascents is the Côte Camillien-Houde, which at 1.8km in length with an average gradient of 8% presents the perfect opportunity for a puncheur to go on the attack. It was here, towards the summit of this climb, that the decisive move went clear in last year’s race, as Adam Yates went on the attack on the final lap with Tadej Pogačar and Wout van Aert in his wheel.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 race contenders
Such is the difficulty of the GP de Montréal parcours that many of the versatile sprinters who would fancy their chances at the GP de Québec will struggle to compete for the win this time around. At Lotto Dstny, this may swing the team balance from Arnaud De Lie to Maxim Van Gils, whilst Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) will be on teammate duty for French national champion and recent winner of the Bretagne Classic, Valentin Madouas.
To his credit, Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) is a former winner of this race and so should not be counted out, but it is likely that Simon Yates will be the better option for the Australian team. Similarly, Bahrain Victorious may tilt their focus towards the strong climbers Pello Bilbao and Jack Haig, rather than the puncheur Matej Mohorič.
Former world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) does not look the same rider that flourished between 2018-2021, but on a good day he would be well in contention for the victory, whilst Ineos Grenadiers might fancy sending their man with the rainbow sleeves, Michał Kwiatkowski, up the road in an early move.
Given the race’s history in ending with a larger group, rather than with a solo rider ripping the race to shreds, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Bob Jungels should be in the mix, as will Nicola Conci of Alpecin-Deceuninck, Matteo Jorgenson of Movistar and Kevin Vermaerke of dsm-firmenich.
As for the headline acts, fans may dream of a Tour de France-esque showdown between brothers Adam (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla). But Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) will all be keen to make their presence felt.
Riders to watch
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 teams
Eighteen WorldTour teams and three ProTeams will take to the start line in Montréal for this year's race.
- AG2R Citroën
- Arkéa Samsic
- Astana Qazaqstan
- EF Education-EasyPost
- Ineos Grenadiers
- Jayco AlUla
- Soudal-Quick Step
- UAE Team Emirates
- Israel Premier-Tech
- Lotto Dstny
- Team Novo Nordisk
How to watch the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023
Live coverage of Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2023 is available to GCN+ subscribers worldwide, with full on-demand replay and highlights of the race also available. Click here for more details.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal race history
With its first edition being held in 2010, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal is a relatively new race when compared to many of its European one-day race counterparts on the WorldTour.
However, even in its short history, this race has seen some of the best classics riders from the last decade stand on the top step of the podium, with the likes of Simon Gerrans and Peter Sagan winning this race during their careers.
Like the GP Québec, this race sends riders around multiple laps of a gruelling city-centre circuit, only this time there’s a hell of a lot more climbing.
Its position in the calendar at the beginning of September means that riders have typically used the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal as a preparation race for the World Championships at the end of the month. The hilly circuit racing that features in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal is also typical of a World Championships Road Race, making it perfect for riders to hone their form ahead of their final races of the season.
As with many races outside of mainland Europe, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the running of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, with organisers being forced to cancel both the 2020 and the 2021 editions of the race. However, the race returned to the calendar in 2022, with many of the world’s best riders taking to the start line in preparation for the World Championships in Wollongong later that year.
Van Avermaet leads the way on the most wins, with two, and is currently the only rider to score multiple victories in this race. His home nation, Belgium, also lead the way in the winners list with three victories from 10 editions, the other coming in 2015 courtesy of Tim Wellens.
There are a number of riders on the winners list of this race that have also won the GP Québec, like Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla), Simon Gerrans and Robert Gesink. The latter is one of the few riders to ever win one of these races solo, a feat he achieved in the inaugural GP Montréal in 2010. In last year’s edition, Tadej Pogačar took an impressive victory, holding off Wout van Aert in a sprint. With neither rider down to start in Canada, will we see a new winner of the race?
Explore the tabs above to find out more about this race, including the start list, route, and results after the race.
26 August - 17 September
Vuelta a España
26 September - 01 October
Provided by FirstCycling