In Canada Tim Wellens (24)won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal yesterday. After a tough race in the pouring rain he beat Adam Yates in a sprint of two, after both had jumped away from a front group of six in the last lap. For Wellens this is the second victory in a WorldTour race this year, after he already won the Eneco Tour in August.
It rained cats and dogs the entire race. Right from the start there were many attacks and Lotto Soudal was always riding in the first part of the bunch. Louis Vervaeke got in a breakaway. The peloton didn’t let go and after 60 kilometres and many attempts to get away, all was back together. A bit later 19 riders escaped the peloton, among them Yates, Van Avermaet, Barguil, Fuglsang and Tim Wellens. They had one minute advantage, but also this break got caught. In the eleventh of seventeen laps Thomas Voeckler, Manuel Quinziato and Louis Vervaeke got in front. Andriy Grivko joined them later. They got a maximal advantage of more than two minutes on the peloton, led by Orica GreenEdge. Vervaeke and Voeckler stayed ahead the longest; it was only when they entered the last lap that the pair was reeled in after an attack of 60 kilometres. Vervaeke was awarded the prize of best climber.
The last ten kilometres would be very important. With Tim Wellens, Tony Gallopin, Jürgen Roelandts and Tiesj Benoot Lotto Soudal had four riders left in a considerably reduced bunch, about 50 riders were still in the group. Tim Wellens didn’t hesitate when Adam Yates attacked. The two were accompanied by Bakelants, Bardet, Kelderman and Rui Costa, but Yates and Wellens attacked again. Their lead never was more than fifteen seconds and in the last kilometres the chasers seemed to come back. But in the last straight line Wellens stayed calm and beat Yates in an exciting sprint.
Tim Wellens: “This victory eases the pain in the legs, but it has been a very tough race. It was a fast race right from the beginning and because of the weather conditions and the amount of altitude metres the race shouldn’t be underestimated. In the first part of the race I was already part of a group of fourteen. For a moment I thought that group could get far, but when I heard that Lotto.nl – Jumbo and AG2R were setting the pace in the peloton, I took a step back. The breakaway with Louis Vervaeke made we could stay relaxed and while the peloton kept getting smaller, we were left with four. There wasn’t much time to talk, but I saw that Tiesj was at the front as well and Tony was already very good in Québec.”
“In the last lap the legs have to do the work. I attacked on the climb, got in front with Yates, but we had to go full so the chasers wouldn’t catch us. When we entered the last kilometre I knew we would stay ahead, but I thought Yates was faster. I tried to keep up a high pace, Yates started sprinting, but I could counter and pass him by pretty easily. I got the victory due to the fact that the last hectometres were uphill I guess.”
“Now we head to Richmond to prepare for the World Championships team time trial. I think that all riders in our team here are in a good shape, that should be good for the Worlds. Then I will ride Lombardia. The pressure has gone now, but the motivation to make something of the end of the season is still big.”