Gaviria: The strongest rider won, I can only congratulate Peter Sagan

Fernando Gaviria left the finish area of the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen frustrated and disappointed, admitting that he had blown his chances of victory in the elite men's road race in the sprint finish by making a late attack.

The lack of live television coverage made it difficult to understand who attacked and when in the final four kilometres but footage from the helicopter revealed Gaviria's youthful error.

He followed a brief attack from Ben Swift of Great Britain but instead of realising a sprint was almost certainly on the cards, he then made his own attack and chased other moves on the flat road near Bergen waterfront with three kilometres to go.

He never really got away and his attacks only acted as a bridge for the chasing peloton to catch late attackers Julian Alaphilippe (France) and Gianni Moscon (Italy).

Gaviria then tried to contest the sprint but had little left in his legs after the attacks.

"I made some mistakes because I really wanted to win. Those mistakes cost me in the end," Gaviria admitted to Cyclingnews.

"The final climb of Salmon Hill hurt me. There were a lot of attacks on the last lap but I had Rigoberto Uran with me and was in the front group that formed over the top. I tried to attack with Gilbert in the last three kilometres but they were going pretty strong behind and they caught me in the last kilometre."

Gaviria was able to stay with the leaders when they steamrolled past the last riders out front but he could not fight for position. Sagan moved up to Kristoff's wheel before the left turn with five hundred metres to go but Gaviria was stuck too far back.

"I did the sprint with my last drops of energy. I did it with the legs I had left and my good will. I was in top 10 and I have to live with that result. I couldn't have done any better," he said.

Gaviria sportingly bowed his head in a sign of respect for Sagan's third world title.

"The strongest rider won. That's why he was already two-time and now a three-time world champion. I can only congratulate Peter on his win," he said before riding away, still angry that he blown his chances in the high-speed finale.

Final 4 km, shot from heli. #Bergen2017

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.