Report: Peter Sagan is World Champion


One of the most popular riders with fans and riders alike, Peter Sagan, won the Men’s World RR title with audacious attack 3k out from the finish

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Report: Peter Sagan is World Champion

One of the most popular riders with fans and riders alike, Peter Sagan, won the Men’s World Road Race title with audacious attack 3k out from the finish.

After over six hours of racing, much of it aggressive and attacking in the finale half, the battle for the title was won and on a roller coaster of a finish.

The winner, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, made his move after several high profile digs had failed to stick on the largely up hill climb up to the finish. The 25-year-old legend in cycling made his move on the penultimate climb of the 261.4km (162.4 mile) course and held on.

Michael Matthews from Australia was second with Lithuania’s Ramunas Navardauskas third. Britain’s Ben Swift was the leading British rider in 22nd place.

Sagan, a four-time stage winner at the Tour de France who dominated the Points competition in that race with such panache, said afterwards, “I think it’s the biggest victory, and I’m very happy because I had a lot of sacrifice for last three weeks after the Vuelta and it’s unbelievable for me. I could not believe I crossed the line alone. I wasn’t thinking about a rainbow jersey this year and now I have it. It’s strange.”

“I did just one attack, and I think it was the right attack. I was waiting, waiting. “Everybody had to be tired after 240km. I just ate all the gels that I had and I was waiting for the last cobblestone climb, and from there I was full gas until the finish. If the group take me, I was very tired for the sprint. I did one attack and it was the right attack.”

Sagan, known for his sprint and ability to ride fast uphill, had sat waiting for the moment and that came after Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) had made his ‘surprise’ move he had talked of before the race. Another favourite, Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) had his go at winning the biggest prize in cycling, the rainbow jersey, but it was Sagan who finished the job off with such a flamboyant ride to the line.

Even the post race celebration was like no other as he exchanged high fives with riders who only minutes before had been his rivals showing just how popular the Slovak rider is. “Probably the most deserving winner we’ve had at the world championships in a while,” said America’s Taylor Phinney who was part of a break in the race.



The Race
As with any pro race there has to be an early doors move and a rider who grew up racing for clubs such as the Glendene CC in England, Conor Dunne, was part of that move in the colours of Ireland. With him were Sergei Tvetcov (Romania), Carlos Alzate (Colombia), Andriy Khripta (Ukraine), Jesse Sergent (New Zealand), Ivan Stevic (Serbia) and Park Sung Baek (Korea).

Back in the peloton, the strong cycling nations with numbers in the race, such as the Netherlands, controlled the chase along with Germany, Italy and Belgium. As the race entered the key phase with under 100k to go, Britain’s Alex Dowsett tried to get a move going before some of the other big guns such as Tom Boonen along with trade teammate Tony Martin strung the peloton out.

More and more attacks were coming and going. Britain’s Ian Stannard was off the front for a spell as Australia led the chase with the weather getting a little on the damp side.

Ben Swift too was showing the British colours at the front as Stannard continued to revel on the cobbled roads and got into a dangerous seven rider move with the likes of last years World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Tom Boonen, and Elia Viviani (Italy).

Ian Stannard (above) – “It was quite obvious it was going to end up in a sprint so I just wanted to kind of break it up a bit earlier. It was a strong group that went with Boonen and Kwiatkowski and myself. We all thought we had a bit of a chance and really committed. But the sprint teams really wanted it as well.”

The gap was just seconds though as the pace was flat stick and the peloton still had big numbers in it backing up claims the race would end in a bunch kick. More and more of the strong favourites, the classics riders, had a dig though but a sprint was looking more and more likely as ‘sprint trains’ started to form at the front with Italy, France, Dutch, Belgium and so on.

Siutsou and Tyler Farrar, who did such a great ride in the Tour of Britain, got clear with a handful of seconds but it was never going to stick with the sprint trains on the hunt behind. Stybar and John Degenkolb though launched their own moves with less than five k to go now and most of it uphill.

It was only Sagan, shrugging off injuries he sustained when he crashed out of the Vuelta a Espana last month after colliding with a race motorbike, who had the power and endurance after six hours of racing to get a gap and then hold it all the way to the line!

Second across the line was Michael Matthews saying after “Unfortunately it’s not the gold” I came here to win the race and I had the legs and had the form to win but Sagan slid away there and we weren’t able to catch him. I was about fifth or sixth wheel when he went. I thought that some other guys would close it but obviously they didn’t. Then I thought that we’d catch him with three kilometres to go with it being such a hard race but maybe we underestimated him a little bit. I’m really happy for him actually.”

Swift best of the Brits

Ben Swift: “I just gave it everything on that climb to follow the guys there and then I just didn’t have anything left for that finish. Once we got to the top and everyone started to sprint I just didn’t have anything left. The team rode pretty well together, I just wasted a lot of energy. I got caught up in a crash through one of the feeds and had to make a big effort to come back – that was about six laps to go.”


Steve Cummings

1. Peter Sagan, Slovakia 6:14:37
2. Michael Matthews, Australia @ 3 secs
3. Ramunas Navardauskas, Lithuania
4. Alexander Kristoff, Norway
5. Alejandro Valverde, Spain
6. Simon Gerrans, Australia
7. Tony Gallopin, France
8. Michal Kwiatkowski, Poland
9. Rui Costa, Portugal
10. Philippe Gilbert, Belgium

20. Edvald Boasson Hagen Norway
21. Nacer Bouhanni France
22. Ben Swift Great Britain
29. John Degenkolb Germany @ 15 secs
30. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil Spain
31. Stephen Cummings Great Britain
34. Matteo Trentin Italy @ 21 secs
35. Tom Boonen Belgium
40. Sam Bennett Ireland @ 40 secs
43. Zdenek Stybar Czech Republic
51. Ian Stannard Great Britain @ 55 secs
57. Adam Yates Great Britain
85. Taylor Phinney United States Of America
88. Tony Martin Germany 0:04:00
101. Scott Thwaites Great Britain
105. Andre Greipel Germany

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