While the dust settled on the Vuelta a España on Sunday, many of the world's best one-day riders were trading punches at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal this past weekend.
It's been three long years since these popular WorldTour events took place, and the fireworks seemingly never ceased. While the unheralded French rider Benoit Cosnefroy turned the tables on Wout Van Aert on the picturesque loop through Québec City on Friday, it was two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar who came out on top in downtown Montréal, attacking Van Aert on the final climbs and outsprinting him to the line in a truly spectacular finish.
Indeed three years was a long time to wait, but once again the Canadian Grand Prix races staged quite a show.
Take a look through some of the best shots from both of this year's Canadian one-day races.
All eyes were on Wout Van Aert before the start of the Québec Grand Prix, a race that appeared perfectly suited for the world’s number-two ranked rider.
When Australia’s Michael Matthews won in Québec in 2019, he never expected it would take three years to defend his title. Covid changed that.
The peloton rolled out over the impressive port on the St. Lawrence River.
Québec rider Hugo Houle has never been so popular since he won his memorable stage in the Tour de France this summer.
Old Québec offered a distinctive stage for the first of the two Canadian Grand Prix races.
Steep hills and technical descents are par for the course in Québec.
While all eyes were on Belgium’s Wout Van Aert, it was 26-year-old French rider Benoit Cosnefroy who stole the show, jumping away in the final two kilometers and surprising the favourites.
Cosnefroy screamed across the line, aware that he had just scored his biggest victory to date as a professional.
If Wout Van Aert was Goliath then Benoit Cosnefroy was David at the finish in Québec.
Peter Sagan readies for the start of the Montréal race on Sunday morning. A winner of both races, the Slovak was happy to finally return to Canada. But unfortunately his condition did not follow.
The peloton rolls out under the shadow of the famous Montréal Polytechnique.
Wout Van Aert and Tadej Pogačar could be seen near the front all day in Montréal.
The 1976 Olympic stadium can be seen in the distance on several spots in the Montréal race, which is held on the same circuit as the Games that year.
Eritrea fans came out in numbers in downtown Montréal and they were only too happy to get a glimpse of the national hero Biniam Girmay.
Tadej Pogačar attacked hard on the final lap and even gapped Van Aert briefly.
Battling back, Van Aert appeared to be primed for victory in the final kilometers.
While Van Aert led out the final sprint, his legs were peppered from the incessant climbing in Montréal, and he was no match for Tadej Pogačar, who stormed across the line.