World Championships: Sagan beats Cavendish to defend elite men's world title in Doha

Boonen third in small group sprint

Peter Sagan (Slovakia) retained his World Championships title in Doha, Qatar with a dominant sprint performance to hold off Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) in second and Tom Boonen (Belgium) in third.

In a close sprint, Sagan and Cavendish both picked different lines with the British rider held up behind Michael Matthews (Australia) as Sagan went from the opposite side and picking a clearer line.

"I don't believe it. I'm still in shock," Sagan said. "I'm very happy because there was a crosswind and I was the last one to make the first group. In the end, it was a sprint so we should see.

"There was a bit of a headwind so I felt I needed to come from the back. I felt I was lucky because [Giacomo] Nizzolo didn't close me out. If he closed me out for sure we would have crashed because I wasn't going to brake. We should have crashed but I'm happy. It's unbelievable."

The race was dominated by one sector of crosswinds in the desert with Belgium putting the hammer down. They split the race to pieces, eliminating several riders including Marcel Kittel, Caleb Ewan, Nacer Bouhanni, and Andre Greipel. From there the Belgians combined with Italy, Norway and a handful of the remaining sprinters with a 30-strong group holding their advantage all the way to the finish.

On the finish circuits around the Pearl, only Niki Terpstra and his teammate Tom Leezer (Netherlands) made late attacks before Belgium once more controlled the race with a sprint set to decide the rainbow jersey.

Cavendish and Sagan marked each other carefully but when Sagan went right, up against the barriers and through a small gap left by Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy), Cavendish went left. He was forced to stop pedalling with 150 metres to go, as he came through Matthews' slipstream, while Sagan was met with fresh air and a clean rainbow jersey.

Despite a week devoid of truly exciting racing the World Championships ended with an impressive podium, with three former world champions - and a current one -  taking the medals.

How it unfolded

The riders headed out to the Aspire Zone in western Doha for the start of the men's road race. With the temperatures already well into the 30s, the riders sought the shade of a nearby building as they prepared for the start. Slightly later than scheduled, the riders set off just after 10:30 through the lengthy neutralised zone.

Brayan Ramirez (Colombia), Nic Dougall (South Africa), Natnael Berhane (Eritrea), Ryan Roth (Can), Anas Ait El Abdia (Morocco), Sergiy Lagkuti (Ukraine) and Rene Corella (Mexico) broke clear early on. They were allowed more than 11 minutes of an advantage but it was never going to last very long. Aside from an early crash involving Chad Haga (USA), there was relative calm in the peloton behind.

With 200 kilometres to go, the wind began to pick up and there were some early signs of echelons forming. As the race turned back towards Doha, the Belgians and the Dutch pushed hard at the front and cracks began to form through the peloton. As if a trapdoor had opened in the middle of the bunch, riders were quickly dispatched and the race that many had hoped for was coming together.

Belgium had serious numbers with six riders up front including Tom Boonen and Greg van Avermaet. The Netherlands, too, had some firepower as Niki Terpstra made the first group. Norway got all three of their team members in, along with Michael Matthews, Mat Hayman, Elia Viviani and Mark Cavendish. Sam Bennett and Magnus Cort Nielsen initially made the cut but were shot out the back, the latter suffering a front wheel puncture.

Germany and France were the two biggest losers when the race split, neither nation managed to get their key riders into the move. In the chaos, Australia's Luke Durbridge suffered a dropped chain and as he was moving to the left side of the road to receive a new wheel, he was struck from behind by another rider. Fernando Gaviria was caught up in the incident and looked as if he'd broken his collarbone as he sat on the barriers in the middle of the road. His race was instantly over as was Durbridge's.

Despite the scramble behind, the gap only increased between the two pelotons as the breakaway riders were absorbed by the first of those with 143 kilometres still to run. The 26-man group entered the Pearl circuit with a minute's gap over the chasing group, as Belgium and Italy worked together to try and push the pace. Much of the Great Britain squad, that had missed the cut when the race broke apart, were pulled out as they arrived on the Pearl over 10 minutes after the leaders. Spain also lost their main hope, Juan Jose Lobato, who was in that same group.

With Belgian riders in the group behind slowing the chase down, the gap between the two front groups continued to extend, despite a number of attacks from the Germans. John Degenkolb showed his frustration after one such attack at just under 60 kilometres to go when he squirted water into the face of Jens Debusschere, who had been playing his domestique role perfectly for the Belgian squad.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Slovakia)5:40:43 
2Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)  
3Tom Boonen (Belgium)  
4Michael Matthews (Australia)  
5Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy)  
6Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)  
7Alexander Kristoff (Norway)  
8William Bonnet (France)  
9Niki Terpstra (Netherlands)  
10Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)  
11Jacopo Guarnieri (Italy)  
12Adam Blythe (Great Britain)  
13Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)0:00:04 
14Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)0:00:09 
15Ryan Roth (Canada)  
16Truls Korsaeth (Norway)  
17Tom Leezer (Netherlands)  
18Nick Dougall (South Africa)  
19Michal Kolar (Slovakia)0:00:13 
20Elia Viviani (Italy)0:00:14 
21Mathew Hayman (Australia)0:00:21 
22Anas Ait El Abdia (Morocco)0:02:48 
23Oliver Naesen (Belgium)0:04:00 
24Jasper Stuyven (Belgium)  
25Daniele Bennati (Italy)  
26Alexsandr Porsev (Russian Federation)0:05:26 
27Aidis Kruopis (Lithuania)  
28Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Argentina)  
29Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark)  
30Sven Erik Bystrom (Norway)  
31Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus)  
32Nacer Bouhanni (France)  
33Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spain)  
34Marco Haller (Austria)  
35Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)  
36Michael Schar (Switzerland)  
37Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands)  
38Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)  
39Juraj Sagan (Slovakia)  
40Maciej Bodnar (Poland)  
41Iljo Keisse (Belgium)  
42Andre Greipel (Germany)  
43Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)  
44Koen De Kort (Netherlands)  
45Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)  
46Manuel Quinziato (Italy)  
47Jens Debusschere (Belgium)  
48Dylan Van Baarle (Netherlands)  
49Ben Swift (Great Britain)  
50Mitchell Docker (Australia)  
51Zakkari Dempster (Australia)0:05:33 
52Scott Thwaites (Great Britain)  
53Robin Carpenter (United States Of America)0:06:03 
DNFJens Keukeleire (Belgium)  
DNFMauro Abel Richeze (Argentina)  
DNFMekseb Debesay (Eritrea)  
DNFRyan Mullen (Ireland)  
DNFMarc Sarreau (France)  
DNFArnaud Demare (France)  
DNFHugo Houle (Canada)  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)  
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)  
DNFDavid De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spain)  
DNFJack Bauer (New Zealand)  
DNFFrancisco Ventoso (Spain)  
DNFLuis Angel Mate Mardones (Spain)  
DNFReto Hollenstein (Switzerland)  
DNFAlexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan)  
DNFYoucef Reguigui (Algeria)  
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Japan)  
DNFNikolas Maes (Belgium)  
DNFJoseph Rosskopf (United States Of America)  
DNFFabian Lienhard (Switzerland)  
DNFCarlos Barbero Cuesta (Spain)  
DNFOmar Fraile Matarranz (Spain)  
DNFBernhard Eisel (Austria)  
DNFDion Smith (New Zealand)  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Ireland)  
DNFLukasz Wisniowski (Poland)  
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Canada)  
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Norway)  
DNFDaniel Hoelgaard (Norway)  
DNFMichael Morkov (Denmark)  
DNFLars Ytting Bak (Denmark)  
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Canada)  
DNFJos Van Emden (Netherlands)  
DNFMatti Breschel (Denmark)  
DNFChristopher Juul Jensen (Denmark)  
DNFJohn Degenkolb (Germany)  
DNFViacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation)  
DNFMarcel Kittel (Germany)  
DNFSonny Colbrelli (Italy)  
DNFJasha Sutterlin (Germany)  
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg)  
DNFChristophe Laporte (France)  
DNFNelson Oliveira (Portugal)  
DNFTony Martin (Germany)  
DNFGregory Rast (Switzerland)  
DNFBob Jungels (Luxembourg)  
DNFNils Politt (Germany)  
DNFSam Bennett (Ireland)  
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Australia)  
DNFSergiy Lagkuti (Ukraine)  
DNFSoren Kragh Andersen (Denmark)  
DNFSoufiane Haddi (Morocco)  
DNFAzzedine Lagab (Algeria)  
DNFAlexey Vermeulen (United States Of America)  
DNFChad Haga (United States Of America)  
DNFClint Hendricks (South Africa)  
DNFRyan Gibbons (South Africa)  
DNFDaniel Turek (Czech Republic)  
DNFAndriy Vasylyuk (Ukraine)  
DNFMihkel Raim (Estonia)  
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukraine)  
DNFEdwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Colombia)  
DNFOmar Alberto Mendoza Cardona (Colombia)  
DNFIan Stannard (Great Britain)  
DNFMaksym Averin (Azerbaijan)  
DNFLukasz Owsian (Poland)  
DNFMaciej Paterski (Poland)  
DNFMatti Manninen (Finland)  
DNFGeraint Thomas (Great Britain)  
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Netherlands)  
DNFMark Renshaw (Australia)  
DNFAdrian Banaszek (Poland)  
DNFStephen Cummings (Great Britain)  
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)  
DNFLuka Pibernik (Slovenia)  
DNFJiri Polnicky (Czech Republic)  
DNFTom Dumoulin (Netherlands)  
DNFFabio Sabatini (Italy)  
DNFCarlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Colombia)  
DNFAdam De Vos (Canada)  
DNFBrayan Stiven Ramirez Chacon (Colombia)  
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan)  
DNFDaniel Oss (Italy)  
DNFAndzs Flaksis (Latvia)  
DNFYoann Offredo (France)  
DNFIoannis Tamouridis (Greece)  
DNFCyril Lemoine (France)  
DNFAnton Vorobyev (Russian Federation)  
DNFKarol Domagalski (Poland)  
DNFMaxim Belkov (Russian Federation)  
DNFFabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uruguay)  
DNFSilvan Dillier (Switzerland)  
DNFSergey Lagutin (Russian Federation)  
DNFAndrei Nechita (Romania)  
DNFMartin Elmiger (Switzerland)  
DNFPirmin Lang (Switzerland)  
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spain)  
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Norway)  
DNFDiego Rubio (Spain)  
DNFAndriy Kulyk (Ukraine)  
DNFJonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)  
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)  
DNFLuke Rowe (Great Britain)  
DNFFernando Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)  
DNFWalter Alejandro Vargas Alzate (Colombia)  
DNFDaniel Mclay (Great Britain)  
DNFAdrien Petit (France)  
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (France)  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Australia)  
DNFCaleb Ewan (Australia)  
DNFSteele Von Hoff (Australia)  
DNFMatteo Trentin (Italy)  
DNFSondre Holst Enger (Norway)  
DNFRoman Maikin (Russian Federation)  
DNFEric Marcotte (United States Of America)  
DNFVojtech Hacecky (Czech Republic)  
DNFAlois Kankovsky (Czech Republic)  
DNFFrantisek Sisr (Czech Republic)  
DNFAndrii Bratashchuk (Ukraine)  
DNFMykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)  
DNFJose Goncalves (Portugal)  
DNFSergio Paulinho (Portugal)  
DNFGrega Bole (Slovenia)  
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slovenia)  
DNFMetkel Eyob (Eritrea)  
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)  
DNFIssak Tesfom Okubamariam (Eritrea)  
DNFMeron Teshome Hagos (Eritrea)  
DNFAlo Jakin (Estonia)  
DNFGert Joeaar (Estonia)  
DNFSalaheddine Mraouni (Morocco)  
DNFAbderrahmane Mehdi Hamza (Algeria)  
DNFRyan Anderson (Canada)  
DNFSiarhei Papok (Belarus)  
DNFKanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)  
DNFFrancisco Chamorro (Argentina)  
DNFMaris Bogdanovics (Latvia)  
DNFBurr Ho (Hong Kong, China)  
DNFBonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwanda)  
DNFRene Corella (Mexico)  
DNFHassen Ben Nasser (Tunisia)  
DNFTedros Redae (Ethiopia)  
DNFJonas Ahlstrand (Sweden)  
DNFMyagmarsuren Baasankhuu (Mongolia)  
DNSRigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)  
DNSVegard Breen (Norway)  

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