Tim Wellens of Team Lotto Soudal defeated Adam Yates of Orica GreenEdge from the two-up sprint to take the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal victory on Sunday, 13th September. The rider turned the rain soaked slippery street grounds to his advantage as Yates slowed down and Rui Costa of Lampre Merida got the third place.
Wellens was not totally elated about his victory as he compared it to his own performance earlier at the Eneco Tour. He thought his performance was better during the Eneco Tour because he got the overall victory, thereby making the Tour “a little bit nicer” than the recent sprint. However, a WorldTour sprint victory is not bad at all, he admitted.
Both, Wellens and Yates attacked at the final major climb at the Mont Royal and chased down a group that included Romain Bardet and Jan Bakelants of Team AG2R La Mondiale and Wilco Kelderman of Team Lotto NL Jumbo. At the last U-turn, it was only Wellens and Yates battling each other. The last 400 meters were crucial for both the riders as both put up a fight that was almost equal. In the end, Wellens made the cut and Yates was left behind in the second place.
Yates was heard calling Wellens “super strong”. The rival also pointed out that Wellens was not just strong in the end, but gave a tough fight consistently throughout the route from the last climb. Yates is not disappointed with his own performance and said that he will come back the next season to go for a better performance, probably hinting at a victory.
The race started at the Avenue du Parc and that was followed by the uphill climb at the Mont Royal. There were some other small limbs at the Cote de la Polytechnique area around the 12.1km circuit. The sharp U-turn near the Avenue du Parc in the end was a major turning point of the race as it had a descent and ascent route right before the finish. The total distance covered in the 17 lap race was 205km.
The peloton had a tough weather situation this time, unlike the Quebec City race day just two days earlier. The rain made the streets of Montreal real slippery but the peloton performed with no casualties and still put up a tight race. There was some time when the raining stopped but with three more laps to go, the downpour began, raising the difficulty bar for the riders.
Thomas Voeckler of Team Europcar offered the most decisive breakaway of the day when there was still 80km to go. However, the rider was joined in by Lotto Soudal and BMC riders and the lead was nullified.
Team Orica GreenEdge had set up Michael Matthews as the key rider and had six riders doing the lead-out business while Adam and Simon Yates were towards the rear end of the field. The entire peloton was strong and almost had the two riders, Adam and Wellens chased down, but the duo managed to finish the race ahead of the rest, having only each other as their competitors for the day.