News: Third title for Sagan

Record breaking third World Road Race title for Peter Sagan who prevents a home win for Kristoff, as Ben Swift sprints in for fifth

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News: Third title for Sagan

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Peter Sagan won a record breaking historic third world title in a row in a dramatic finish to the men’s road race at the World Championships in Norway. With only four kilometres to go, Julian Alaphilippe of France had slipped away from Gianni Moscon (Italy) and was leading alone before the host TV images were lost and with less than a kilometre to go when the race reappeared on our screens, it was all together and a bunch sprint was going to decide the title.

The Slovakian Sagan had barely featured among the lead riders throughout the 267 kilometre race in Bergen but timed his ride to perfection, taking the wheel of the home nations big favourite, Norwegian Alexander Kristoff, before coming off his wheel and in a photo finish, becoming the first man to win three consecutive world crowns. Michael Matthews of Australia was third, Matteo Trentin 4th and GB’s Ben Swift fifth.

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Prior to the race getting going, Conor Dunne, a winner of the CiCLE Classic, made it into a ten rider break that stayed away until the final four or five laps before the race hotted up.  and there was a lot of attacking with breakaway after breakaway gaining very little before being caught and replaced by another. Belgium’s Tim Wellens then made a strong attack with 68km left, dragging several rivals with him including Lars Boom (Netherlands) and David de la Cruz (Spain).

Odd Christian Eiking (Norway), Alessandro De Marchi (Italy), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Marco Haller (Austria) and Jack Haig (Australia) made up the rest of the escape group. They built a lead of around 45” but Poland and France worked hard to bring it back. The gap was 24” with 50km left. With two laps left and 5h38min of racing on the clock the break still had 35″, with some nerves in the peloton about the strength of the escape group.

Wellens continued to bury himself at the front while Dutch team leader Dumoulin attacked twice from the front of the chasing pack. With 25km to go it was all together before that hectic conclusion, where Frenchman Tony Gallopin attempted to break clear 13km from home, but he was swallowed up at the foot of Salmon Hill and at the same time a crash accounted for several riders including two or three from Belgium. After Gallopin was caught, his teammate from France, Julian Alaphilippe, used the final climb to steal a march on the peloton. He was chased down by Italian Gianni Moscon on the descent and with only seconds in it, Alaphilippe attacked Moscon to go clear but alas for him, he was caught in the final 1500 metres.
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Peter Sagan: “It was not easy, for the last five kilometres, I said it is already done, its gone. It was changing at the front, I tried to get in the breakaway after Gaviria tried to close, and it ended up a sprint, unbelievable.”

On beating Kristoff: He’s racing at home and I am sorry but I am very happy to win again! On this 3rd Title: “it is something special for sure. It doesn’t change anything but for me, it is something very nice.” On a bunch sprint. “It was very hard to say it would be a sprint. On the climb, we were already two or three pieces, or more, and then the guys from behind catch us and then it just happened, came together in seconds.”

“I am very happy with my national team and also with some ‘friends’ in the group.” “I want to dedicate this victory, this third world championship title, to Michele Scarponi, because he would have had his birthday tomorrow, that, Scarponi’s death was a very sad story this year and I want to wish good luck to all his family, and secondly I want to dedicate this victory to my wife; we are expecting a baby.

Ben Swift: “Happy but you always want more. It was a close finish and the team rode really really well. We have a youngish team and are working towards the future really. We can be really happy with the ride we did there. A real special thanks to Owain Doull and Jon Dibben. I had a bike change at a really bad moment and they brought me back incredibly well.

“I really didn’t know what was happening in the final, there was a lot of people everywhere and I tried to do a couple of moves just to ensure I was in the final. I didn’t want to rest in the group and watch the medals go their way, but luckily it came together in that last 600 metres and I got in a decent position but there were two sprinters out front and it was a bit hard to get them.”

Julian Alaphilippe: “I really gave everything. Of course, I am disappointed, but I don’t have any regrets after today. I tried something from the distance, as the tempo in the final lap wasn’t too high, favouring the sprinters at that point”, said Julian after his fantastic energy-draining fantastic effort. “So I gave it a go on Salmon Hill and went full gas in the kilometers to the line. After getting caught, I tried to hang on to get into a position for the sprint, but I didn’t have too much left in the legs.”
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1. Peter Sagan, Slovakia
2. Alexander Kristoff, Norway
3. Michael Matthews, Australia
4. Matteo Trentin, Italy
5. Ben Swift, Great Britain
6. Greg Van Avermaet, Belgium
7. Michael Albasini, Switzerland
8. Fernando Gaviria Rendon, Colombia
9. Alexey Lutsenko, Kazakhstan
10. Julian Alaphilippe, France
11. Michal Kwiatkowski, Poland
12. Soren Kragh Andersen, Denmark
13. Tony Gallopin, France
14. Zdenek Stybar, Czech Republic
15. Vasil Kiryienka, Belarus
16. Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Russia
17. Philippe Gilbert, Belgium
18. Sergei Chernetski, Russia
19. Rui Costa, Portugal
20. Simon Geschke, Germany

25. Tom Dumoulin, Netherlands
26. Daniel Martin, Ireland
27. Rigoberto Uran, Colombia :05
29. Gianni Moscon, Italy :08
31. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Norway 01:04
34. Nicolas Roche, Ireland
37. Peter Kennaugh, Great Britain 01:22
38. Warren Barguil, France 01:23
58. Elia Viviani, Italy 2.32
98. Scott Thwaites, Great Britain 07:33
99. Mark Christian, Great Britain
105. Lars Boom, Netherlands 07:35
111. Tim Wellens, Belgium 9.21
117. Tao Geoghegan Hart
127. Ryan Mullen, Ireland 11.53



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