Belgian Philippe Gilbert produced a late surge to win the 201.6km Quebec Grand Prix on Friday and make sure of the world No. 1 ranking at the end of the season.
“I was a little bit stressed because I only needed six points to take the ranking lead, but they were six hard points,” Gilbert told reporters after edging out Dutchman Robert Gesink and Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran in the second edition of the Quebec event.
Gilbert was six points behind Tour de France champion Cadel Evans at the start, but the Australian had already ended his season.
The stress hardly showed as the 29-year-old Omega Pharma-Lotto rider attacked on his own in the last of 16 laps around Quebec’s scenic roads.
Gesink, winner of the Montreal Grand Prix and third in Quebec a year ago, was one second behind Gilbert.
Uran finished nine seconds adrift, rewarding his Team Sky for an excellent collective effort.
With 17 wins this season, including a Tour de France stage and the prestigious Fleche Wallonne, Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Clasica San Sebastian, Gilbert deserved to end the season in top spot.
However, the best one-day race rider in the world said he still had targets to attain.
“I already said I wanted to win all the major classics in the calendar. I still have three more to win, Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix,” Gilbert said.
“The Giro d’Italia leader’s pink jersey is another goal. I have won stages in the three big Tours and held the leader’s jersey in the Tour de France and Tour of Spain, but not in the Giro,” He said.