Canadian one-day race will begin continue an exciting block of late-season WorldTour racing in North America
GP de Québec 2023 overview
First raced in 2010, the GP de Québec is one of the youngest one-day races on the WorldTour calendar. It's held every year in the Canadian city as part of the ‘Laurentian Double’, alongside the GP Montréal. These two races, preceded by the Maryland Cycling Classic presented by UnitedHealthcare, offer an unforgettable block of racing in North America as the season nears its end.
With its hilly lap circuit that features no less than four leg-breaking climbs per lap, the GP de Québec can become one incredibly attritional and tactically nuanced race.
18 WorldTour teams and three ProTeams will line up at this year’s race, with UAE Team Emirates, Bahrain-Victorious, Groupama-FDJ and Soudal Quick-Step all bringing notably strong teams. AG2R Citroën took the title with Benoît Cosnefroy last season and the Frenchman will be hoping to retain his crown this time around. But he will face strong competition from the likes of Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) and recent winner of the Bretagne Classic, French national champion Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ).
The route features 16 laps of a 13km-long circuit, each lap containing four climbs that fall in pretty rapid succession. None are over 1km in length, but each averages around 10% all the way to the top. With such short, sharp climbs falling in quick succession, the riders are offered zero respite, making this one of the most arduous and attritional races on the calendar.
The most important climb the riders will face on the circuit is the Grande Allée. It’s the longest on the route, at 1km, and rises all the way to the finish line at an average gradient of 4% The finish of this race therefore favours the puncheurs of the peloton and those riders with an explosive uphill sprint. It’s no wonder the winners list features names like Philippe Gilbert, Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) - three of the best uphill sprinters of the modern age.
GP de Québec 2023 key information
Date: September 8, 2023
Editions: 11 (as of 2022)
First winner: Thomas Voeckler.
Most recent winner: Benoît Cosnefroy
GP de Québec 2023 route
Québec → Québec (204km)
The route for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec has remained relatively unchanged since its inaugural edition in 2010, with the race taking the riders on a tour of the Parc des Champs-de-Bataille along the banks of the Saint-Laurent river, which then brings them into the heart Old Québec before the final uphill drag to the finish.
© Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal
GP de Québec 2023 route map
The race is often defined by the four climbs that feature in the final few kilometres of each lap, these being the Côte de la Montagne, the Côte de la Potasse, the Montée de la Fabrique and the final climb to the finish along the Grande Allée. Whilst none of them are particularly challenging in their own right, the fact that they all come in such quick succession means that they offer zero respite, which deadens the legs of the riders and often leaves them with little to no energy by the final ascents.
GP de Québec 2023 contenders
The course is too difficult for the pure sprinters in the WorldTour peloton, but the more versatile fast men will have their opportunities to shine, as shown by two-time winner Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla), who will be back to try and claim a record third victory. He will be supported by teammate Simon Yates, who will of course be a rider to watch in his own right.
Simon’s brother Adam Yates will be leading the UAE Team Emirates’ effort and finished seventh in last year’s race, but should his efforts fail, the team will look to Marc Hirschi and Brandon McNulty to perform. McNulty will no doubt have his fair share of supporters in attendance, hailing from the neighbouring United States, but so too will Movistar’s Matteo Jorgenson.
Canada has never provided a home winner to either of its one-day Classics, but their hopes will be placed in Hugo Houle and Guillaume Bovin of Israel-Premier Tech, both of whom have enjoyed fine seasons for the overperforming ProTeam. This course will probably be too difficult for their Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo, but Lotto-Dstny will be hoping that their young whippet Arnaud De Lie can find his climbing legs which saw him impress in the BEMER Cyclassics last month.
Bahrain-Victorious can lay claim to having one of the strongest teams at the race, spearheaded by Matej Mohorič, Pello Bilbao and Jack Haig. The latter two will probably be better served at the GP Montréal, so could prove to be excellent helpers for the in-form Mohorič, who won the Tour de Pologne and the final stage of the Renewi Tour recently.
Elsewhere, keep an eye out for Groupama-FDJ’s Valentin Madouas, Ineos Grenadiers’ Michał Kwiatkowski, Soudal Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty’s Biniam Girmay and the EF Education-EasyPost pairing of Magnus Cort and Ben Healy. To the side of defending champion Benoît Cosnefroy will be Ben O’Connor, Aurélien Paret-Peintre and the soon-to-be retired Greg Van Avermaet.
GP de Québec 2023 teams
- AG2R Citroën
- Arkéa Samsic
- Astana Qazaqstan
- EF Education-EasyPost
- Ineos Grenadiers
- Jayco AlUla
- Soudal-Quick Step
- UAE Team Emirates
- Israel Premier-Tech (PRT)
- Lotto Dstny
- Team Novo Nordisk
GP de Québec history
Together with the GP Montréal, the GP Québec offers riders from around the world a rare opportunity to race in North America and against a rather unique urban backdrop, completely different to any other event seen in Europe. It’s the first of the Canadian Classics and arguably the ‘easier’ of the two with around 1000m less climbing than its sister race in Montréal.
The race may be hosted in Canada, but as of yet no Canadian has ever won the GP Québec, nor its sister race in Montréal. The closest a rider from the home nation has come to winning this race was 4th, when Ryder Hesjedal was bumped off of a podium spot by Robert Gesink in the final sprint of the 2010 edition.
It’s the Australians that hold the most places on the winners list for this race, courtesy of Michael Matthews and Simon Gerrans who both lie on two apiece. These two Aussies are also the only two riders in history to complete the ‘Laurentian Double’ and win both the GP Québec and GP Montréal in the same weekend. The 2022 edition was won by Benoît Cosnefroy as he managed to hold off none other than Michael Matthews and Biniam Girmay. Who will take the win this year?
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26 August - 17 September
Vuelta a España
26 September - 01 October
Provided by FirstCycling