The race moved into high gear on the final climb up Camillien Houde parkway. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) took turns attacking and Costa, the 2011 winner, came off the mountain with the lead and held it until he was reeled in with 200 metres to go.
Sagan’s chances for a weekend sweep ended when he was boxed in between third-place finisher Diego Ullisi of Lampré-Merida and Cannondale’s Alberto Bettiol.
Van Avermaet has eight top-10 finishes in the Canadian races and had three podium finishes before Sunday.
Speaking after his victory Gregg Van Avermaet told journalists that “I came here many times and I had not managed to win yet so I’m very happy I’ve done it,” said Van Avermaet. “We worked very hard with Julian Alaphilippe and Petr Vakoc in the finale to try and catch Rui Costa and I’m glad we made it so that I could have my chance to go for the win.
“It’s been an incredible year,” he added. “For many years I was the guy who didn’t quite make it and now I’ve won all those great races. I hope I can continue like this and win races like Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. It’s sure that Peter and I have responsibilities as the world champion and Olympic Champion and I’m sure we will continue to do our best in the years to come.”