The Italian thwarted the sprinters by beating Jesus Herrada and Tom-Jelte Slagter from a breakaway group in the Canadian race
Diego Ulissi took victory in the second Canadian WorldTour race of the weekend, the GP Montréal, sprinting to the line ahead of rivals from a late breakaway group.
The Italian, who took third in the race behind Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Sagan in last year’s edition, made no mistake this year as he jumped into a move of 16 riders that broke clear with around 16km to go.
That group, thanks to the attritional climbs of the circuit race, five kilometres later that group was down to just six, including Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac), Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Ulissi.
They were able to hold a 25 second gap to the main peloton which contained the likes of Sagan and Van Avermaet, but they remained disorganised.
Attacks from that group from the likes of Sergio Henao (Team Sky) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) failed to make an impact, while a move from Sagan was short lived as no-one wanted to work with the world champion.
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) also tried his best to bring things back together, but by the time the break had reached two kilometres remaining and had 15 seconds, it was too late.
Gallopin was the first to make a move with 1.5km to go, and it looked to be a good one until the tight hairpin turn towards the finishing straight saw the other breakaway rider get back on.
Gallopin was then dropped in the final uphill run to the line, with Bakelants putting a dig in early. Herrada and Slagter held on behind but never looked like threatening Ulissi, who came from behind Bakelants and launched his sprint with perfect timing to take victory.
Herrada then grabbed second as Bakelants faded, with Slagter taking the final podium spot.
Greg Van Avermaet was able to save some face by winning the sprint from the main bunch 16 seconds back, with Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Sagan following in.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (205.7km)
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 5-22-29
2. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Movistar
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale, all same time
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 6s
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, at 11s
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, at 16s
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac, all same time