Italy's Ulissi takes Montreal WorldTour cycling grand prix in sprint finish

Diego Ulissi of Team Emirates won a six-man final sprint ahead of Movistar rider Jesus Herrada Lopez to win the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal on Sunday afternoon.

Final sprint resulted in one of the biggest wins in Ulissi's pro career

Italy's Diego Ulissi, pictured in 2016, won Montreal's WorldTour cycling grand prix in the sprint finish. (Alessandro Di Meo/Associated Press)

Diego Ulissi of Team Emirates won a six-man final sprint ahead of Movistar rider Jesus Herrada Lopez to win the Grand
Prix Cycliste de Montreal on Sunday afternoon.

Tom-Jelte Slagter of Cannondale was third as favourites like world champion Peter Sagan and Olympic gold medallist Greg Van Avermaet were unable to catch up to a late breakaway group.

Ulissi, the former world junior champion from Italy, darted along the right side to take the sprint and post one of the biggest wins of his pro career.

Sagan won in Quebec City on Friday for a second year in a row ahead of Van Avermaet for is 100th career victory.

Israel Racing Academy's Ben Perry of St. Catharines, Ont., and national road race champion Matteo Dal-Cin of Ottawa, riding for Team Canada, provided the early entertainment by breaking away from the start and taking a lead of nearly six minutes before they were caught by the peloton after 121 kilometres.

They joined arms to celebrate their adventure as they were overtaken.

American Ian Boswell and two-time African champion Natnael Berhane of Eritrea then made an escape, soon to be joined by Michael Albasini of Switzerland and Italian Edward Ravasi.

They were quickly reined in, only to see Guillaume Boivin of Montreal try a short-lived escape.

Alberto Bettiol of Italy led a group of nine to the front only to be chased down with two laps to go. There was a late attempt by a group of 16 that dwindled to the final six who managed to stay ahead despite a charging peloton.

Two riders in their last pro race -- American Tyler Farrar and Italian Manuel Quinziato -- were honoured with starting spots in the front row. Farrar, 33, has had stage wins at the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Spanish Vuelta.

The 37-year-old Quinziato is a two-time world championship gold medallist in the team time trial for Italy.

It was the eighth edition of the Quebec City and Montreal races, the only UCI WorldTour events in Canada.