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UCI Road World Championships 2015: Elite Men - Road Race

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the elite men's road race at the World Championships in Richmond, USA. 

We will have full live coverage of the race. 

As the minutes tick down to the official start at the top of the hour, we'll bring you all the information from the start line.  

The riders are currently preparing for the race and signing on. 

While it has rained over night, it is now dry and the road surface is also drying out. However showers are forecast for the afternoon and the finale of the race.   

To check out the official start list and se rider numbers' click here.

To get a taste of the action we expect today, check out huge photo gallery from yesterday's women road race. 

The German team is the next to sign on. They can count ob John Degenkolb for an aggressive finale and Andre Greipel for a big sprint finish. 

Michal Kwiatkowski has also signed on. He's wearing the red and white Polish colours and from today is no longer world champion unless he manages to pull off a rare double victory.  

The USA riders are also signing on, with the crowd giving them a big cheer.  

The riders face a race distance of 260km. They cover the 16km circuit some 16 times.  

As the clock ticks down to the start, the riders begin to gather at the rollout point. 

Who is your favourite to win today? We picked these ten riders to watch. 

This year's road circuit does not include any long climbs but the three climbs packed into the final 5km makes the race like a tough spring Classic.

And they're off! The riders have rolled out from the start.

It's going to be a long day in the saddle but the prize at the end of the day: a world title and rainbow jersey will be worth it. 

The riders are covering an 18km sector before hitting the circuit in Richmond. Spain is on the front of the peloton. 

Local resident Ben King is on the front and waves to the TV camera. He could try to get in the early break today. 

The race is neutralised in this sectors with riders tucked behind the official race car. 

The Belgian team is riding with a special thought today. It is the birthday of the late Wouter Weylandt, who died in a crash at the Giro d'Italia. Weylandt would have been 31 years old today.  

The flag has dropped and we have the first attack of the day. 

Five riders have quickly jumped away and the peloton has let them go.

The riders are Andriy Khripta (Ukraine), Jesse Sergent (NZL), Ivan Stevic (Srb), Park Sung Baek (Kor), Conor Dunne (Irl).

The French team has performed well in Richmond in the men's under 23 race and the elite men are hoping to win today. 

Also in the move now are Sergei Tvetcov (Rom), Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr), Ben King (USA) and Carlos Alzate (Col).

250km remaining from 259km

The break is rapidly gaining time and now leads the peloton by 3:30.

248km remaining from 259km

Stevic leads up 23rd street as our breakaway makes the crest.

The Dutch team are leading the peloton up Libby Hill - they are confident in Niki Terpstra today. The sun has come out and riders are unzipping their jersies and shedding arm warmers.

The leaders head through the finish line for 15 laps to go, kilometers ahead of the bunch, who grind their way up 23rd street under pace of the Dutch.

Alejandro Valverde is mid-pack on the climb, looking none too pleased to be bouncing over cobbles.

240km remaining from 259km

Jos van Emden is stringing out the bunch as they head toward the finish line for the end of their first lap. 4:49 behind our eight leaders.

The peloton passes through the feed zone, which is located on a ridiculously fast section of the course. There's very little chance of getting a feed late in the race when the pace is high.

Looking ahead at our breakaway, we have a few riders who are familiar with the American roads: of course Ben King is the rider most accustomed to racing in Virginia, as a resident of the nearby Charlottesville area.

Carlos Alzate (Colombia) has also been racing for years on the North American circuit. He's a sprinter with UnitedHealthcare who has been part of their national criterium calendar domination.

233km remaining from 259km

233km remaining from 259km

230km remaining from 259km

The breakaway are on 23rd street, with Khripta now up the road a piece, just getting some air time for Ukraine.

The bunch is being led by the Germans up Libby Hill, with Christian Knees followed by the Dutch.

At the end of the lap, with 14 more to go, it's Sergei Tvetcov rotating through smoothly in the breakaway. His Romanian kit all black with red, yellow and blue of his national flag. It's a nice looking kit.

The sun is shining on the breakaway - it's quite a different day than the meteorologists predicted! The riders had steeled themselves for six hours in pounding rain, but it's quite pleasant.

It's still 225km left to race, and that's long even for a grand tour stage or one-day race. The breakaway is still sitting at four minutes but the Dutch aren't going to give them any more time.

Vincenzo Nibali is near the front, he's all smiles today.

There was one rider who failed to start this morning: Jaco Venter (South Africa) was unable to arrange a visa to enter the USA, and was disappointed to not be able to race today.

There are a few riders who could surprise today, and one is Frenchman Julien Alaphilippe. He finished on the podium of two Ardennes Classics this year.

218km remaining from 259km

Speaking of the French, Tony Gallopin is another contender for that country. Read Cyclingnews' pre-race interview with Gallopin here.

THe peloton heads through the second feed zone, which is also on a very fast section of course. Many bottles are dropped.

The breakaway is heading to Libby Hill for the third time, Ben King gets a bottle from the team car - it's much easier to stay fed and hydrated from the breakaway than the field in a race like this.

Thankfully, King has been provided with a white version of his POC helmet because the lime green of his trade team would have clashed mightily with the red white and blue.

The speed of the peloton is still not furious, as can be witnessed by the ability of a fan on a townie bike able to keep pace with them as they head along Dock Street along the James River.

213km remaining from 259km

A problem for Taylor Phinney at the back of the bunch as the peloton heads up Libby Hill. The American is having problems with his gears.

Time trial world champion Vasil Kiryienka is dead last in the peloton on Libby Hill.

Jos van Emden has been riding the front now for some 50km and shows no sign of giving up.

207km remaining from 259km

The race is averaging around 40km/h on the last two laps, after starting out much quicker.

Ivan Stevic (Serbia) has a rear puncture and has to get a wheel change from Shimano neutral support.

203km remaining from 259km

Stevic will unfortunately not be able to make use of the fast Main St descent to regain the breakaway because he's about half as big as the rest of the riders up front.

Someone hand that man a lead brick!

201km remaining from 259km

Another crash in the peloton - Germany's Paul Martens and Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) met at the kerb in the feed zone and had a little lie down together. They're back up and riding.

The breakaway are heading to Libby Hill for another trip up the cobbles. Sergent is back at the cars having a chat.

Ben King is asking for the time gap - we'd like to know, too. Last check we got was around 3:30, but it was coming down.

We're being told that Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke Boonen is off the back of the race chasing.

The Belgians have a few riders at the back waiting for Boonen. He's stopped with a front puncture. He's off and chasing again.

Peloton is on Libby Hill only 12 more times after this.

195km remaining from 259km

King leads across the line with 12 to go. It's just like one of those Tour de France stages that passes through one rider's hometown, and the peloton let him lead through town - only the entire circuit is Ben's hometown (almost).

The Dutch riders were looking around at the top of 23rd and now we know why - they were waiting for Van Emden to continue his 200km-long individual pursuit... he's back at the front on Governor Street.

Taylor Phinney decides to finally get a new bike and gets a big push from the mechanic after a fast swap.

We were incorrect about the Costa Rican rider who crashed last lap - he has abandoned the race.

There are still 187km left to race, and Van Emden's solo pursuit has whittled down the gap to the leaders to just under 90 seconds, according to the live timing. It will be a very different race if the eight riders get caught.

One country hoping for a hard race - which this could be if the early break is brought back - is Great Britain. They're without their main sprinter Mark Cavendish, though Ben Swift is fast, and also missing Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

Correction, the gap is 3:20, down from over four minutes. Sergent is back at the car getting an adjustment to his clothing. It seems that it was not comfortable and the mechanic is cutting his base layer with a pair of scissors. What could possibly go wrong?

It seems impossible that there is 'cross going on when Worlds isn't even over yet.

Now that Sergent isn't being choked by his baselayer, he leads up Libby Hill, followed by Ben King.

 As the break tackle the cobbles of 23rd street, the peloton hits the Libby Hill cobbles, with the Netherlands still on the front.  

Robert Gesink is back up front with his Dutch teammates after stopping at the pits to adjust his saddle.

The peloton now hits 23rd St, with some riders dancing on the pedals and others sitting back to put the power through the back wheel. The cobbles are dry for now.

The peloton passes through the finish after two hours of racing. The average speed was 40.64km/h.

The Netherlands has moved off the front, with Germany now on gathered up front.  

The gap is now 3:40 with 11 laps to go.  

175km remaining from 259km

To listen to the big favourites for today's road race and Cyclingnews analysis and predictions, listen to our special World Championship podcast.

The peloton passes through the feed zone without any incident this lap. 

167km remaining from 259km

After the Netherlands, Poland is also massing at the front.

Up front the riders in the break are still working smoothly together.

The peloton hits 23rd St at a steady pace. This section could be decisive in the final laps of the race. 

At the pits, several riders take on musettes filled with food and drinks.

The Polish and Spanish teams re on the front, nudging the pace along. 

The peloton is also feeding in the pits, with the speed slowing as they grab musettes. The average speed stays steady after five laps. 

Lance Armstrong is in the news on the day of the elite men's road race after it emerged he has finally paid $10 million back to SCA Promotions for the bonus payments he secured for winning the Tour de France. 

The Polish teams has placed five riders on the front of the peloton, stretching out the riders.

150km remaining from 259km

150km remaining from 259km

147km remaining from 259km

The gap to the break is down to 3:00. 

Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) has a problem on the pave and needs a push to get going again.

Three Dutch riders are lining out the peloton. There are also Polish riders and Australians up front and driving the pace. 

Behind some of the big favourites have realised it is time to move up. 

The break has a lead of just 2:20 now.   

Dylan van Baarle, Robert Gesink and Lars Boom are doing the hard work for the Netherlands on the front.

140km remaining from 259km

The riders in the break have also picked up their speed as they try to stay away as long as possible. 

However the German teams is also upfront in the peloton with the Australians massing too.  

Tony Martin is using his power to drag the peloton along towards Libby Hill.

Ben King leads the break up the twisting cobbled climb. his pace spits two riders out of the back. 

There are huge crowds on Libby Hill. It's a great place to see the race.

Andriy Khripta (Ukraine) is dropped from the break on 23rd St. 

Several riders are forced to put their foot down after a touch of shoulders on the cobbles. 

They quickly chase back on but this circuit has several points and the cobbles and gradient on 23rd St is one of them.

130km remaining from 259km

The peloton fills the road behind, passing the finish at 1:55. They seem to have eased slightly.

It seems Phinney had to run up part of 23rd St before getting his chin back on chasing the peloton.

In the peloton the Netherlands are back, whipping up the pace and reducing the gap. 

120km remaining from 259km

King again pushes the pace on Libby Hill, riding in the gutter. The break is down to five after Ivan Stevic (Serbia) is dropped.

Here comes the peloton on Libby Hill. 

Belgium has moved to the front, with Tom Boonen looking good and well placed.

115km remaining from 259km

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) is also up front. 

Nikolas Maes (Belgium) is on the front, setting the pace. 

Seven laps to go!

After the flat roads of the finish area, the Dutch and Polish riders are back at the front, upping the pace.

Ben King eats an energy bars and talks to the USA team car. We shouldn't be surprised if he attacks alone later in the race.

105km remaining from 259km

Bike change for Tony Martin of Germany.

The teams in the peloton are fighting for position before the cobbled climb of Libby Hill. 

Michal Kwiatkowski is in second place over the top of the climb, on the wheel of a teammate.  

On 23rd St, the break splits after a surge by two riders.  

Crash!

Daniel Oss (Italy) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg) go down hard after a corner.

The crash has split the peloton.

The speed is high as riders try to get across to the front group.

As the peloton passes through the finish, there are six laps to go. 

The break is about to swallowed up by the front group of the peloton.

Both Oss and Dricker have pulled out of the race.

However Italy has Nibali in the front group. 

93km remaining from 259km

Gesink is again working on the front of the group, making the race hard in favour of his Dutch teammates.

Belgium also has two riders up front but the race is all together if very lined out. 

Brent Bookwalter is up front for the USA.

The riders are now looking around as the pace eases. But there attacks come quickly trying to form a new break.

Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) is trying to sneak away into a break.  

The entire field is back together as Belgium takes control heading back to Libby Hill.