Wellens edges Yates on final sprint to win Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal

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MONTREAL — Tim Wellens edged Adam Yates in a two-man final sprint to win the rain-soaked Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal on Sunday.

Wellens, of the Lotto Sudal team, and the Briton Yates, whose twin brother Simon led their Orica GreenEdge team, broke away on the 17th and last lap and held off a charge from a four-man chasing group and the hard-charging peloton.

The Belgian had too much power for Yates on the final run to the finish line.

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Portugal’s Rui Costa, who won the event in 2011 and finished second last year, came in third.

The 205.7-kilometre race was run on a slick 12.1-km circuit up and down Mount Royal in the heart of Montreal.

There was heavy attrition, with several riders pulling over early including Cannondale-Garmin leader Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria, who abandoned mid-race, and AG2R’s Hugo Houle of Ste-Perpetue, Que.

Mike Woods of Ottawa was the top Canadian finisher for the Canadian national team.

The race began in heavy rain and a succession of breakaway attempts failed, although one group of seven that included the dangerous Greg Van Avermaet from BMC built a 50-second lead before they were caught.

When the sun came out mid-race, world champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Etixx-Quick-Step made a break and was caught, but a threesome of Thomas Voeckler of Eurocar, Manuel Quiziato of BMC and Louis Vervaeke of Lotto Soudal took off near the end of the 10th lap and had a two-minute lead on the pack.

With four laps to go, rain hammered down on the course and the lead group, since joined by Astana’s Andrei Grivko, saw their advantage trickle until, with the Orica-GreenEdge team leading the peloton, they were caught near the end of the penultimate lap.

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As if on script, the rain let up for a wild final lap, which started with a solo attempt by Adam Yates.

The Grand Prix events in Quebec City and Montreal are the only UCI World Tour races in North America. Rigoberto Uran of Colombia won in Quebec City on Friday. They are a key tune-up for the world road race championship Sept. 27 in Richmond, Va.

Last year, Australian Simon Gerrans swept both races, but he did not enter this time after a series of crashes and injuries, including a broken wrist at the Tour de France.

 

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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