Gerrans had been viewed as Australia's best hope of a podium, adding to Cadel Evans's gold medal in 2009, Davis' bronze in 2010 and Matt Goss's silver in 2011 however the Milan-San Remo winner was unable to match the power of winner Philippe Gilbert in the finale.
"He [Gilbert] was definitely a worthy winner today," Gerrans admitted. "I stuck to my plan and waited and put all eggs in the basket of going on the last lap but Philippe was just too strong when he attacked at two k to go. I was in the next wave of guys but couldn't match his acceleration there so he's a worthy winner and I'm really happy for him.
"You can't be too frustrated when you haven't got the legs," he continued. "If I was good enough to go with Philippe I deserve to be on the podium so at the end of the day I'm disappointed I didn't have the legs but when you don't, you can't lose too much sleep over it."
Teammate Simon Clarke, recent winner of the king of the mountains classification at the Vuelta a España, had the job of marking the Belgian and patrolled the front of the group on the final lap heading into the Cauberg.
"It was my job to take the pressure off Gerro and by doing that had to be in everything before the final decisive lap so he could wait until then," Clarke explained.
"I've been on his wheel before when he attacks and if you want to go with him you have to be one centimetre behind him because if you're not there's no way you can follow him... Full credit to him it was an awesome ride but to win a world championship you need an awesome ride. Good on him and let's hope we can go better next year."
With Gerrans unable to be on the pace, it was left to Australia's plan-b, Allan Davis to compete for the bunch sprint behind Gilbert who was in open space.
"[We] all knew what he was going to do, what tactics the Belgian team was going to do, he was just too strong," said Davis who placed sixth.
Davis, 32, earned his third top-10 placing in the elite ranks at a world championships, having previously finished third in Geelong in 2010, and 5th in Verona in 2004.