UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi claimed a stunning victory at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday following a hectic sprint that saw him cross the finish line just ahead of Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac).
Ulissi, together with team-mate Marco Marcato, made sure that he was part of a breakaway that began on the penultimate lap of the top tier UCI WorldTour race.
That breakaway was then whittled down to just six remaining riders by the time the race approached the last curve of the final uphill stretch, where Ulissi out-sprinted his rivals to seal a famous win.
Commenting on his win, Ulissi said: “I’m really very happy with this victory. After the Tour de France I continued working hard because I really wanted to try and win this race, which is particularly suited to my skills. Last year I finished third behind Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
“This year I told myself that if I arrived with them then there was no chance I could win, so I decided to race on the attack. My teammates were fantastic, especially Marcato and Conti, who worked the flanks and looked out for any adversaries, helping me to push to the limit in the main break. Sometimes to win you have to risk losing it all, and I was determined to achieve success today.”
The race was Ulissi’s second in Canada this season, with the Italian having already earned a creditable 11th place at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on September 8.
Both one day races are part of the top tier of road racing, the UCI WorldTour, and, unlike most Classics, they are both long circuit races, with the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec totalling a distance of 200km and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 205.7km.
Together, they represented the final opportunity for top riders to get some competitive racing under their belts ahead of the World Cycling Championships which take place in Bergen, Norway from September 17-24.
Riding alongside UAE Team Emirates’ Ulissi at both races were Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi and Ben Swift.