Montreal – A day after finishing third in the Tour de Canada, Canadian cyclist Michael Matthews went down to his last chance of the season in the Critérium du Dauphiné, losing his pink jersey to Peter Sagan.
Matthews won his fourth Tour de Québec as the only Canadian rider to win in three consecutive races, and finished with a time of 32:28.
It was his second victory in two years and first since the Tour of California.
The loss was felt across the peloton as many riders returned to the Tour after a break, while the team also announced the suspension of former leader Dan Martin for two races.
Matthews, the reigning Olympic silver medallist, won the opening stage of the Critèrium du dauphine and was third in an early sprint that saw Sagan come through to the front in a sprint.
Matthews was up against a tough bunch of riders, with Michael Rogers, Michael Matthews and Ryan Gibbons all coming back from World Championships where they were all in the pelos top five.
Rogers and Matthews had a great day, each with an early breakaway, but the final sprint proved too much for the quartet, with Gibbons finishing second.
Matthews and Rogers will miss the remainder of the race, and will miss next year’s Tour de Suisse and Vuelta a España.
In his first Tour de Quebec, Matthews will be looking to win his fourth crown, after winning his last two.
The 28-year-old finished with an overall victory in 2015 and finished fifth in the 2017 Tour de Pologne.
Matthews will have a new teammate in the form of veteran Canadian Mark Cavendish, who will be aiming to add a few victories to his career as he tries to defend his title.
Matthews has had his share of ups and downs in 2017, but has always found a way to deliver big results in Quebec.
He won his first stage of this year’s Critériums in his first race after a long layoff.
Matthews finished second in the final stage of last year’s race in Quebec, but was second to Rogers and Rogers was third to Cavendish.
Matthews is a four-time Tour de Francophones winner, and was the first Canadian to win the Tour in Canada since Pierre Rolland in 1970.
His win last year also saw him win his second straight Canadian Tour, the first of his career.
Matthews also won his third Canadian title in 2017 with the silver medal in the road race.
This will be his first career title in the world Tour de l’Avenir, and he will be hoping to add to his achievements on the final day of the Tour.