Skip to main content

Cavendish sprints out of nowhere to Worlds victory ahead of Goss

Great Britain won the world road race championship for the first time in 46 years when Mark Cavendish finished off an incredible demonstration of team work and pace-making by his seven teammates with a perfectly judged sprint on the drag up to the finish to beat Australia's Matt Goss by a wheel. Germany's André Greipel took the bronze medal, just edging out Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) by a tyre's width.

Sweeping into the final straight, Cavendish was a long way back in the line, behind a clutch of Australians, Germans and Norwegians, and had a huge amount of work to do. But, showing outstanding coolness considering the situation, the Manxman picked his way towards the front, before finally nipping though the narrowest of gaps along the right-hand barrier to launch his sprint with 150m to the line.

In typical fashion, his initial jump carried him clear of his rivals. Goss, who had hesitated very briefly as Cavendish flashed by on his outside, came hard at the Briton as the line neared, but the Australian's effort came too late as Cavendish held on to become the first British winner of the men's world road title since Tom Simpson in 1965.

Cavendish's victory crowned a hugely impressive performance from the British team. Right from the early stages of the 266km race, the British septet riding in support of Cavendish set the pace on the front of the bunch, looking very much in control until the mayhem of the final kilometre.

Cavendish was quick to pay tribute to them. "We had eight of the best guys in the world, and this is the first time we've come together. They were incredible. They took the race on from start to finish and we won. I can't believe it," said Britain's new world champion.

"We knew three years ago when this course was announced, that it could be good for us. We put a plan together to come with the best group of guys to this race and to come away from it with the rainbow jersey. It's been three years in the making. The guys have worked so hard throughout the season to get points so that we could have eight riders here and, as you just saw, they rode incredibly. I feel so, so proud."

High speed from the start

In the days building up to the race, many of those taking part had said that they expected the pace to be hot right from the off, and that was exactly how the race shaped up. The huge field started very quickly on the 14km circuit that had an altitude gain of just 40 metres per lap. The average speed was close to 50km/h for the first 30 minutes as breaks went and were brought back. Even at this early point, though, the Great Britain team was prominent on the front of the bunch.

Eventually seven riders did get clear, with only two of the strongest nations represented. Pablo Lastras was up there for Spain, with Anthony Roux representing France. Also in the group were Christian Poos (Luxembourg), Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan), Oleg Chuzhda (Ukraine), Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia) and Tanel Kangert (Estonia). As these seven riders went to work, the bunch eased off a tad behind, allowing their lead to stretch to more than eight minutes before Great Britain's Steve Cummings and David Millar began to push the pace a little more quickly on the front of the peloton.

With the gap down to a little over four minutes with 148km covered, the first attack from the main group finally came. Heading up through the finish to complete the 11th of 19 laps, Belgium's Johan Van Summeren accelerated on the right-hand side of the road. France's Yoann Offredo got on his wheel and Italy's Luca Paolini sprinted across to make three. Belgium's Oliver Kaisen and Australia's Simon Clarke also made it across to the move. These five riders quickly began to eat into the lead break's advantage, with Offredo staying mostly at the back of the line with his teammate Roux up ahead.

Hushovd's defence stymied by crash

Back in the bunch, the British riders continued to set the pace with occasional help from the US and German teams. Coming through to complete the 13th lap and with six still to go, a crash toward the back of the field left a number of riders on the deck and halted many others. Among those affected were defending champion Thor Hushovd (Norway) and new world time trial champion Tony Martin (Germany), who had been expected to play an important lead-out role for Greipel at the finish.

The incident split the peloton. Although Hushovd and New Zealand's Jack Bauer did attempt to close the gap, this second group steadily fell further behind and completely out of contention.

Approaching the 200km mark, the two groups ahead of the main field joined forces, giving France and Belgium two riders each up front. The 11-strong group - Poos having fallen back to the main pack - led by just two minutes now, with Great Britain happy to lead a steady pursuit and chase down any other sallies off the front of the peloton.

The tension increases with three to go

With four laps to go, it briefly seemed that the British team's relentless pace-making was taking a heavy toll. An attack by Denmark's Anders Lund didn't ultimately come to anything, but several nations took the opportunity to send riders across to the Dane in an attempt to weaken Cavendish's teammates. However, the British riders quickly regained their positions on the front of the bunch and the Lund-inspired attack was nullified. But the question was: would Team GB be able to remain in charge when the race reached its most crucial moments?

By now the gap to the 11 leaders was hovering around the one-minute mark. More attacks went and were countered, notably one instigated by Switzerland's Michael Albasini and containing two Belgian riders, Sweden's Thomas Lövkvist and Australia's Michael Rogers. As this group was chased down, Denmark's Lars Bak jumped away, no doubt hoping that others riders would join him, but pressing on nevertheless when no one did.

Going into the penultimate lap, with the break now within sight of the peloton on the long straights and Bak in between, the powerful Frenchman Roux attacked from the front group. It was a well-timed move as the peloton were quickly on the riders Roux had spent a lot of the race cooperating with. But with just 20 seconds in hand and more than 20km to the finish, the French rider was never likely to stay out front for long.

Voeckler goes on the attack

In the end, Roux's long day was brought to a close by a familiar face. As the bunch closed, Thomas Voeckler (France) accelerated off the front, paused briefly with Roux to acknowledge his huge effort with a pat on the back, then pushed on again with Denmark's Nikki Sorensen and Belgium's Klaas Lodewijk for company.

This trio led by 18 seconds going into the last lap. A handful of kilometres into it, they were joined by Holland's Johnny Hoogerland, whose arrival saw Voeckler drop to the back of the line and significantly reduce his work rate.

Behind these four, time trial world silver medallist Bradley Wiggins was steaming along on the front of the bunch, cutting lumps off the small advantage the break had. Hoogerland gave all he had to drive the break along, but Wiggins had simply too much horsepower for the Dutchman and his three companions. Voeckler made one final effort with 7km remaining, but quickly eased off as Wiggins motored by.

Stunning Stannard paves way for Cav

By now the British team had plenty of company toward the front of the bunch. Australian, Italian and German jerseys were also massing, and it was the Australians who eventually took over from Wiggins with 3.5km to go. They had four riders working for Goss, and the Germans too emerged strongly, leaving the British team swamped and, for the first time all day, slipping back down the field.

Inside the final 2km, Britain's Ian Stannard, having done a stack of work already, manoeuvred his way up through the fast-moving pack with Cavendish on his wheel. Joined by Geraint Thomas, Stannard's effort took him to the very front of the line as the bunch swept around the final corner with 500 metres left up to the line.

Before Stannard pulled aside, Thomas looked back to see where Cavendish was. Realising that his sprinter was some way back in the pack, Thomas followed Stannard's example in swinging out of the way rather than upping the pace. For a moment it looked like the Brits had lost out in the very final kilometre, but the slight drop in pace at the front meant Cavendish was able to gain some vital ground as the Australians started to set up Goss for the finish.

As Goss prepared to move, Cavendish saw daylight to his right against the barriers, squeezed through the tightest of gaps and was gone. Team Great Britain's incredible day was about to reach the perfect conclusion.


Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)5:40:27
2Matthew Harley Goss (Australia)
3André Greipel (Germany)
4Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
5Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)
6Romain Feillu (France)
7Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
8Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
9Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)
10Tyler Farrar (United States Of America)
11Denis Galimzyanov (Russian Federation)
12Peter Sagan (Slovakia)
13Anthony Ravard (France)
14Daniele Bennati (Italy)
15Rui Costa (Portugal)
16Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Portugal)
17Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
18Michael Morkov (Denmark)
19David Veilleux (Canada)
20Grega Bole (Slovenia)
21Pim Ligthart (Netherlands)
22Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)
23Denys Kostyuk (Ukraine)
24Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)
25Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)
26Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
27Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus)
28Marek Rutkiewicz (Poland)
29Lars Boom (Netherlands)
30Takashi Miyazawa (Japan)
31Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)
32Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark)
33Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Belarus)
34Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
35Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands)
36Matt Brammeier (Ireland)
37Yoann Offredo (France)
38Maciej Paterski (Poland)
39Thomas Lövkvist (Sweden)
40Sacha Modolo (Italy)
41Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal)
42Heinrich Haussler (Australia)
43Nicki Sörensen (Denmark)
44Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands)
45Gorazd Stangelj (Slovenia)
46Thomas Rohregger (Austria)
47Gabriel Rasch (Norway)
48Nick Nuyens (Belgium)
49Juan José Haedo (Argentina)
50Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)
51Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
52Björn Leukemans (Belgium)
53Tony Gallopin (France)
54Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden)
55Rene Mandri (Estonia)
56Oleg Chuzhda (Ukraine)
57Anders Lund (Denmark)
58Filipe Duarte Sousa Cardoso (Portugal)
59Ricardo Jorge Correia Mestre (Portugal)
60Pieter Weening (Netherlands)
61Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spain)
62Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
63Klaas Lodewyck (Belgium)
64Pavel Brutt (Russian Federation)
65Brent Bookwalter (United States Of America)
66Jure Kocjan (Slovenia)
67Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)
68Peter Velits (Slovakia)
69Martin Velits (Slovakia)
70Sylvain Chavanel (France)
71Aidis Kruopis (Lithuania)
72Christopher Sutton (Australia)
73Grégory Rast (Switzerland)
74Baden Cooke (Australia)
75Danilo Hondo (Germany)
76Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia)
77Francesco Gavazzi (Italy)
78Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spain)
79Simon Gerrans (Australia)
80Elia Viviani (Italy)
81Gerraint Thomas (Great Britain)
82Daniel Oss (Italy)
83Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spain)0:00:16
84Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)
85Vladimir Isaichev (Russian Federation)
86Michael Albasini (Switzerland)0:00:19
87Martin Kohler (Switzerland)
88Wouter Poels (Netherlands)
89Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands)
90Daniel Martin (Ireland)
91Stuart O`Grady (Australia)
92Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spain)
93Kevin De Weert (Belgium)
94Benjamin King (United States Of America)
95Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spain)
96Marcel Sieberg (Germany)0:00:26
97Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spain)0:00:29
98Thomas Voeckler (France)0:00:31
99Ian Stannard (Great Britain)0:00:34
100Mathew Hayman (Australia)
101Michael Rogers (Australia)0:00:38
102Simon Clarke (Australia)
103Manuel Quinziato (Italy)0:00:42
104Matteo Tosatto (Italy)0:00:49
105Kristijan Koren (Slovenia)
106Luca Paolini (Italy)0:00:52
107Giovanni Visconti (Italy)0:01:02
108Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)0:03:14
109Olivier Kaisen (Belgium)0:04:00
110Mart Ojavee (Estonia)
111John Degenkolb (Germany)
112Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan)
113Anthony Roux (France)0:06:34
114David Millar (Great Britain)0:08:22
115Jeremy Hunt (Great Britain)
116Miguel Armando Ubeto Aponte (Venezuela)0:08:54
117Jonas Ljungblad (Sweden)
118Greg Henderson (New Zealand)
119Rafael Andriato (Brazil)
120Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan)
121Jack Bauer (New Zealand)
122Nélson Filipe S Simoes Oliveira (Portugal)
123Mehdi Sohrabi (Islamic Republic of Iran)
124Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Colombia)
125Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)
126Hossein Askari (Islamic Republic of Iran)
127Carlos José Ochoa (Venezuela)
128Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia)
129Chris Anker Sörensen (Denmark)
130Tomas Aurelio Gil Martinez (Venezuela)
131Christian Knees (Germany)
132Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Argentina)
133Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
134Andrei Nechita (Romania)
135Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)
136Maximiliano Richeze (Argentina)
137Hrvoje Miholjevic (Croatia)
138Winer Andrew Anacona Gomez (Colombia)
139Svein Tuft (Canada)
140Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)
141Ivan Mauricio Casas Buitrago (Colombia)
142Kristijan Ðurasek (Croatia)
143Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea)
144Yuri Metlushenko (Ukraine)
145Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine)
146Carlos Ivan Oyarzun Guinez (Chile)
147Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine)
148Gonzalo Garrido (Chile)
149Gregory Panizo (Brazil)
150Laurent Didier (Luxembourg)
151Michal Golas (Poland)
152Julian Dean (New Zealand)
153Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukraine)
154Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg)
155Maciej Bodnar (Poland)
156Bartosz Huzarski (Poland)
157Matthew Busche (United States Of America)
158Bernhard Eisel (Austria)
159Mikhail Ignatyev (Russian Federation)
160Alexander Porsev (Russian Federation)
161Timofey Kritskiy (Russian Federation)
162Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kazakhstan)
163Sergey Renev (Kazakhstan)
164Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain)
165Niki Terpstra (Netherlands)
166Tony Martin (Germany)
167John Murphy (United States Of America)
168Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)
169Dmitriy Fofonov (Kazakhstan)
170Thor Hushovd (Norway)
171Andreas Klier (Germany)
172Samuel Dumoulin (France)
173Jeffry Louder (United States Of America)
174Timothy Duggan (United States Of America)
175Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)0:09:10
176Marcel Kittel (Germany)0:09:16
177Johan Van Summeren (Belgium)
DNFSteve Cummings (Great Britain)
DNFTanel Kangert (Estonia)
DNFChristopher Froome (Great Britain)
DNFAbdelati Saâdoune (Morocco)
DNFHonorio Rafael Machado Perez (Venezuela)
DNFAmir Zargari (Islamic Republic of Iran)
DNFFerekalsi Debesay (Eritrea)
DNFJan Barta (Czech Republic)
DNFAndrey Sartasov (Chile)
DNFKrisztian Lovassy (Hungary)
DNFSemere Mengis (Eritrea)
DNFAdil Jelloul (Morocco)
DNFBert Grabsch (Germany)
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg)
DNFFrank Schleck (Luxembourg)
DNFIvan Stevic SRB
DNFMichael Barry (Canada)
DNFStefan Denifl (Austria)
DNFTomislav Danculovic (Croatia)
DNFMert Mutlu (Turkey)
DNFLeonardo Fabio Duque (Colombia)
DNFBlel Kadri (France)
DNFPetr Bencik (Czech Republic)
DNFArtur Albeiro Garcia Rincon (Venezuela)
DNFAndrew Talansky (United States Of America)
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spain)
DNFChristian Poos (Luxembourg)
DNFAdnane Aarbia (Morocco)
DNFMouhssine Lahsaini (Morocco)
DNFIsmail Ayoune (Morocco)
DNFMohamed Said El Ammoury (Morocco)
DNFOtavio Bulgarelli (Brazil)
DNSRoman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)


Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1