Britain’s Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) had to be satisfied with a second place finish in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal today after being squarely outsprinted to the line by breakaway partner Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal).
The Belgian rider led out the sprint at the end of a thoroughly wet and tortuously hard race but responded capably to Yates’ jump and powered past him for victory in the second of this week’s Canadian WorldTour races.
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“It wasn’t just at the finish he was stronger but from the top of the climb all the way to the finish,” said Yates who broke clear on the last of 17 ascents of Mont Royal before being joined by Wellens near the top. “I can be pretty happy with second. I guess I’ll come back next year and try and go one better.”
Both riders broke clear from a small bunch of around 35 riders and were pursued right to the line by a splinter group led home by former world champion Rui Costa just two second behind.
“Tim came across to me and gave me a big turn straight away so was super strong,” said Yates. “All the run-in towards the finish he was doing the most work and doing the biggest turns.”
It initially looked like Yates might have played his cards perfectly in the sprint when he opened a good lead on Wellens.
However: “My legs were pretty dead,” the 23 year old from Bury said. “I was probably on the front for 100m but then he came back around me.”
While Orica-GreenEdge spent much of the race riding in the service of fast finisher Michael Matthews who took second in Friday’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, Yates had been given freedom to attack on the final lap of the 12km circuit.
His second-place follows another runner-up spot overall at last week’s Tour of Alberta and a win in the Clásica San Sebastián last month.
Hailing from Limburg, 24 year-old Wellens is seen as something of an Ardennes Classic specialist, although today’s win constitutes his biggest one day victory yet.
Both he and Yates are expected to clash again when they target Il Lombardia in three weeks time.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (205.7km)
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal in 5-20-09
2. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at same time
3. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0-02
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale at 0-04
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal at st
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Lotto NL-Jumbo) at 0-05
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at st
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Lotto NL-Jumbo) at 0-09
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
10. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin both at st