Sagan’s perfect timing delivers record third-straight title

Martin finishes 26th after Slovakian sprints ahead over final 50m to win in Norway

Peter Sagan (centre) of Slovakia breaks  ahead of Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (right) in the road race world championship  in Bergen, Norway.  Photograph: Cornelius Poppe/EPA

Peter Sagan (centre) of Slovakia breaks ahead of Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (right) in the road race world championship in Bergen, Norway. Photograph: Cornelius Poppe/EPA

 

Peter Sagan stayed quiet all day before timing his effort to perfection in the final sprint to become the first rider to claim three road race world championship titles in a row on Sunday.

The Slovakian surged ahead with less than 50m left when he pipped local favourite Alexander Kristoff to the line in Norway.

Australian Michael Matthews took third place after being boxed in during the lead-up to the sprint.

“It was not easy. It came down to a sprint, that was unbelievable,” said Sagan, who joined Italian Alfredo Binda, Belgians Rik van Steenbergen and Eddy Merckx, and Spain’s Oscar Freire in an elite club of triple world champions.

“I’m sorry [for the Norwegian fans] but I’m happy to be world champion again.”

Dan Martin finished 26th in the bunch sprint. Martin was the highest Irish finisher on a day where two Irish riders, Conor Dunne and Seán McKenna, featured in the break for most of the race. Nicolas Roche, who got caught out with a pile up in the closing kilometres of the race, finished in 33rd place.

It seemed that France’s Julian Alaphilippe and Italian Gianni Moscon would fight it out for gold when both jumped away from the leading group 11km from the line on the ascent to Salmon Hill, a 1.4km effort at an average gradient of 6.4 percent.

But they were eventually reined in and most of the top sprinters contested the win in front of huge, flag-waving crowds in the port city of Bergen.

Sagan, who was kicked out of the Tour de France this year for sending Mark Cavendish crashing in a sprint, was clearly the strongest as he added to his titles in Doha, Qatar, and Richmond, Virginia.

Belgium had no pure sprinters and they tried to blow up the race to avoid a mass finish.

Broke away

Tim Wellens broke away with 70km left and was followed by seven riders – Spain’s David De La Cruz, Dutch Lars Boom, Italian Alessandro De Marchi, Colombian Jarlinson Pantano, Austrian Maro Haller, Australian Jack Haig and Norway’s Odd Christian Eiking.

They built up a maximum gap of 45 seconds as France tried to take control at the front of the peloton.

The break was ended 25km from the finish after the peloton was split in the penultimate passage up to Salmon Hill.

In the final ascent, Alaphilippe burst away from the leading pack and only Moscon could follow as they opened up a 10-second gap.

France were looking for a first senior road race world champion since Laurent Brochard prevailed in 1997.

They came up just short, though. The Frenchman contested the sprint but ended up 10th.

“We did everything perfectly, except that we did not win,” said France coach Cyrille Guimard, who led Lucien van Impe, Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon to Tour de France titles in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.