Corbin Strong showed what he is made of with an impressive second place at GP Cycliste de Quebec, marking his first WorldTour podium in his debut participation at the tough one-day race.

I have been looking forward to this race all year” said a conflicted Strong at the finish line. On one hand the 23-year-old New Zealander was gutted to narrowly miss the win to Arnaud De Lie, on the other hand Strong was happy with his result, knowing it may be the first time he has fought for the win in Quebec but it won’t be the last.

With a possibility of rain set to wreak havoc, the peloton wasn’t quite sure how the race would unfold but no matter what happened, IPT had a clear plan to back Strong as the team leader in the uphill bunch sprint. Having kept him out of trouble throughout the day, the team moved into position with five kilometers remaining, before Strong launched his sprint and executed the plan to perfection.

I think a long sprint is really well suited to me so I went early and with this finish today, I didn’t want to cross the line with any regrets. I thought I’m not going to sit here and wait to be lucky and I needed to go if I want to win this. I started to believe when I saw the finish line approaching but Arnaud was too fast. I’m gutted to be second but also happy with the result. The boys did a great job on the last lap and I really have to thank them. It was my first Quebec but the boys have raced many time, and we have a strong Canadian team so I really lent on them in the last lap,” explained Strong.

For Strong, the chance to take on a leadership role at such an important race for the team was an opportunity he wasn’t going to pass up.

I definitely felt the pressure but in a good way. This is probably the race I have had the most leadership at in my career. It’s a really important race for the team with out strong Canadian ties, our sponsor Premier Tech, and also with Sylvan Adams growing up here. I definitely had that pressure there but I saw that as a positive thing. The team believes in me and that’s really motivating for me so I’m really happy to repay that with the second place. My shape has been good all year and I’m really happy to actually show today the level I can perform at.”

Sports Director Steve Bauer praised Strong and his teammates for their commitment to the plan.

It was a great performance. Corbin deserves big accolades for a second place in his first time racing in Quebec. We set out with confidence that he could do a great sprint here. We believed that the course was perfect for his capabilities, the uphill sprint especially. We focused on keeping him out of trouble all day and the then the final four kilometers were crucial. The team did a great job to put him in position and he did finished it off, led it out long but we just saw a super strong De Lie, who we knew would be good. But second place is well applauded.

Corbin wasn’t the only IPT rider to grace the podium with Guillaume Boivin finishing as the best Canadian at the race, after playing a crucial role in guiding Strong all day.