Skip to main content
Live coverage

UCI Road World Championships 2016: Elite Men - Road Race


Hello and welcome to Doha for the final race of this year's UCI Road World Championships, the men's elite road race. We're around 25 minutes away from the start of the race and riders are busily signing on ahead of the 257.6km race. We will have live coverage throughout the entire race so sit back and enjoy the next six or seven hours of racing. 

The official start list is here and its completely up to date with any last minute changes. Peter Sagan wears number one as the defending champion having won twelve months ago in Richmond, USA. It's a totally different proposition today with desert, heat and potentially cross winds the main features of the course. There is some wind out there today so we could be in for an exciting opening sector through the desert. 

Sagan once again had a small team but that didn't stop him last year; it didn't stop him at the European Championships earlier this summer and it certainly didn't stop Amalie Dideriksen in yesterday's women's race - she had just two teammates too. Bunch sprint or no bunch sprint, Sagan is a major threat. 


Before the race kicks off you can listen to our latest podcast. In which the Cyclingnews team make their predictions regarding the men's race and we hear from riders in time trials from earlier in the week. Less than ten minutes until the road race starts.

 The wind has certainly picked up since yesterday's women's road race. That really could be a feature when the race moves into the desert for the first 150km or so.

If the conditions hold then expect the Belgians to really take a grip of the race and start to try and break things up with echelons. They'll really want to make a tough race and put the pure sprinters under pressure for as long as possible. In Tom Boonen and Greg Van Avermaet they have two potential winners. They've one of the strongest teams in the race, for sure. 


We see Greipel just hiding in the shade before the sign in. They have six riders but three riders who might fancy their chances with Degenkolb and Kittel also capable of doing well if the race comes down to a bunch sprint. Greipel has been given the leadership role at the start of the race. though. Meanwhile our brethren at Procycycling have written a feature on Greipel's top ten wins

We are on the start line and the riders begin the neutralized part of the race. Blue skies and a bit of a headwind/cross wind at this point. 

A number of riders still have ice-vests on as we carry on through the neutralized zone. Belgium are on the front for now and just deciding when to ditch the icy layers of clothing. 

Steve Cummings as you might expect at this point in the race is right at the back of the bunch and drifting along. He has a huge role today for Great Britain and will be expected to help Cavendish. Whether that's from being in an early break or lining out the bunch later on, we'll have to wait and see. Probably the latter. 

Still in the neutralized zone and tapping out a gentle pace. Rowe and Stannard almost riding tandem at the moment as we see Degenkolb take off his ice vest. Greipel at the back too and looking around for possible assistance. One rider has to stop for a flat but coming back to the bunch should be relatively easy at this point. 

Tony Martin also at the back and chatting to Cummings for now. The German has two gold medals already this week and his job today will be to protect his sprinters ahead of the finish. It's perfect terrain for him though - he can essentially sit on the front and drag the peloton through the desert. If that's required.

255km remaining from 257km

255km remaining from 257km

We now have a group clear with Daniel Teklehaimanot going once more. He's joined by four riders but the bunch are hot on their heels. 

All together again as South Africa try and put a rider up the road. This time five men go off the front and this acceleration actually creates a gap. Colombia are there, and Canada. A couple more men make the juncture and this could have legs. 

Around seven riders in that move and they're all working hard to create a gap. No real reaction from the peloton at this point, so we might already have our break of the day. We'll bring you the full list of names in the break once we have them. 

244km remaining from 257km

The gap is out to 5:40 and no panic at all from the bunch as we continue to head out of Doha and into the desert. A number of riders, including Greg Van Avermaet have gone back to the cars for assistance but the pattern for the early stages has made been made.

Daniel Mclay (Great Britain) is playing the role of Jeremy Hunt (2011 Worlds) and has fixed himself to Mark Cavendish. Mclay will be at the sprinter's side for as long as possible and keep him out of trouble and out of the wind. 

At the back of the bunch an Australian ride has six fresh bottles on his back as Boonen goes back to the team car for a chat. He's also picked up some ice as we see Greipel looking for a Camelback.

The gap as moved out to 8'17 as we head into the desert. The seven leaders have a real shift ahead of themselves as they share the work. 

Cyril Lemoine has drifted to the back of the bunch with Nacer Bouhanni. The Frenchman one of the favourites for today if he can produce his best sprint. A few more riders peel off for a comfort break as the pace in the bunch drops once more. The gap moves out to 10:07 with 234km still to go. 

There's a brief flash of life from the bunch as we head through a feed zone for the first time. Riders grab more bottles and food as Brammeier sits up and calls for the Irish team car. He need a front wheel.

Mclay needs a front wheel too as we see Cavendish brought to the front by two other teammates. 

Who are you tipping today for the podium? Let me know via

223km remaining from 257km

Meanwhile Cookson has talked about the heat in Qatar. 

216km remaining from 257km

Siutsou again moves to the front. Hutarovich must be worried about the break with 213km to go.

Rougher roads now for the break as we have a bit of cross winds on this sector. The break are still working well together though as we move towards the final 200km of racing. The break pick up some food in the mix zone. 

And there's a crash. Haga is down for the USA. There's a rider from Canada involved too but he's on his bike relatively quickly. Haga takes a little longer to get going but there's no major problem for the American who is now chasing back on.

We've not really mentioned Kristoff so far but he's another rider with excellent chances today. He has a really strong team around him that includes Boasson Hagen, another potential candidate. Kristoff has won a number of stages in Qatar during his career and he knows how to handle messy, competitive sprints after 250km of racing.

At the front of the race the Norwegians have moved up. So too have the Australians and the French. Great Britain were already there. Siutsou sets the pace.

A reminder of the riders in the break:


The race heads further north and the wind is really picking up. Once the race turns right they'll have a taiilwind, and then they will turn again and that's where we could have some action in the cross winds. 

We hear that Uran did not start this morning but Colombia have one of the most talented and certainly in form sprinters here with Gaviria. He was so impressive a week ago at Paris-Tours and ProCycling editor Ed Pickering believes the Etixx rider can win today. Hear more of our Worlds predictions in the latest CN podcast

Ventoso and Peter Sagan exchange a few words towards the back of the bunch. The Tinkoff riders scoffs down some food before moving back towards the front. At said front Great Britain are still near the front, neatly tucked in behind Siutsou.

196km remaining from 257km

The pace has increased in the bunch as we start to see the peloton line out towards the back. Durbridge is leading the line for Australia, and is looks ready to kick things off if the wind picks up. No sign of the Belgians though. Once  they hit the front, that's when you need to pay attention.

Caleb Ewan has found himself a little caught out at the moment and is near the back of the pack. He's trying to move up but there's no room on the left hand side. The Dutch are moving up at the moment. It wont be long before the Belgians make their move. 190km to go.

There's a sand storm  - a small one - moving to the right of the bunch but they avoid it as Rowe and Stannard protect Cavendish. Feel like Morgan Freeman should be narrating this race (march) with regards to how the Great Britain team are looking after their little sprinter. Luckily riders don't feed in the same way penguins do but the protection levels are somewhat similar. 

187km remaining from 257km

178km remaining from 257km

It's Blythe who leads the bunch for Great Britain at the moment. They're well represented at the front with Belgium just to their right. And we can see a split in the field already. 

A German rider has let a gap open up and the bunch is spread over several hundred meters. Australia have been caught out. And some of the Dutch too.

They turn right and now we head south and back down to Doha. Great Britain, Belgium, Italy are driving the bunch as we see Dumoulin dropped with a flat front tire.Viviani, Cavendish are both in the lead group. Kristoff is there too along with a number of riders from Belgium. Dumoulin gets a wheel but that could be his race over if they continue like this. Ireland have a rider at the front, I think that's Bennett.

Norway have numbers here along with the British and Belgians. There's a crash and three riders are down, including Marcotte.

Belgium have five at least in this lead split. Australia three or four, GB the same and Norway three or four as well. Viviani is there for Italy but I can't see any teammates just yet. Hayman and Durbridge are there. 

I think there's Terpstra. Sagan is there. Oss is losing ground but Viviani has at least one teammate with him. Germany have one rider. Thomas has missed out. GB, who were so prominent at the start, have lost out here.

167km remaining from 257km

Losers at the moment - the Dutch, Germany, Great Britain and Spain. Australia, Belgium and Norway are running the show as the gaps increase. 

Boonen takes a huge pull on the front with Van Avermaet taking over. Degenkolb is there for Germany. Sagan is there. No sign of Bouhanni at the moment. 

And there's a crash Durbridge is on the deck. Gaviaria was also involved. The Australian was hit from behind. His race is over. 

Matthews is in the lead group for Australia. Boasson Hagen, Kristoff all there. Greipel is in the next group with Bouhanni. Gaviria was in the crash with Durbridge and his race is over too. The Dutch are leading the chase group - the third group on the road. 

So we have our break from the morning. Then the Cavendish/Matthews group. Then at 40 seconds we have the Greipel, and Bouhanni echelon. 

All Cavendish has left is Blythe for company. David Millar on the  BBC has just said that the British team have 'been destroyed by the Belgians'. He's not wrong but they're not the only victims here. A reminder though, there's still a long way and a few of these groups could come back together. 

I'm afraid there's no race radio at the moment so we've no real official time gaps. What we do now is that Belgium are controlling the race with Norway and Australia. Six Belgians, four Norwegians, two Australians, two from GB and then maybe another 15 riders. 

The group of Greipel and Bouhanni are starting to organise a chase. They are 35 seconds down on the Belgian led echelon. 

Sagan in the lead  group and he has a teammate with him. He's really benefited from this situation. He's lost a number of rivals and although he needs to contribute he can see the race turning in his favour. 

I think we can count four Italians in the Boonen group as well. Bennati, Viviani, Guarnieri and Nizzolo.

Bonnet is there for France. Petit as well. Leezer, Terpstra for the Dutch. Nielsen for Denmark.

151km remaining from 257km

Hayman just leads Matthews through. They took a huge blow with Durbridge's fall because he really would have been useful in these flat conditions.

The Boonen/Sagan group are about to catch the early break. That will help, if the riders from the initial break. 

145km remaining from 257km

Looks like Cort has been dropped by the front group. Bennett as well. Around 30 riders left in the lead echelon and they have a tailwind all the way back to Doha. 

Sagan drops to the back of the bunch and picks up a fresh bottle. 140km to go as we race back towards Doha and the Pearl. Italy have put one man on the front to help with the pace setting. The gap is at 53 seconds. 

The third group on the road, the biggest group, is going to be key. They're about to catch the Greipel group. Once that happens we should see a more organised chase with a gap of around 1:30. This could all still come back together. 

The race has stabalised in the last 15 minutes. The gap between Boonen and Greipel is at 1'03. The tailwind means it's tough to really chase and make an impact. It's about containment for the chase who have to hope that the lead group weaken. Still not much effort from the Italians in the lead group as we see Blythe drop back to the team car to pick up some supplies.

123km remaining from 257km

We're into Doha with 120km to go. The gap is at 1:09.

Frustration in the chase group because not all the riders are contributing. Despite that, they're still holding the leaders at 1:05. This race is not over but the chase have to organise. The Germans having all their leaders in the chase doesn't help because they'll be wasting energy if it does come back. We see a few attacks from the chase, just to prove the disharmony. 

Belgium have two men in the chase group and they're just blocking everything. It's hampering the chase to no end but the gap holds at 1:03. 

The gap is coming down. It's at 54 seconds with 110km to go. The Belgians are fully committed, Norway chipping in with some work but a lot of the break sitting back at the moment.

Greipel is being forced to take a turn for the chase but the Belgians are shutting it down every time with two riders now thwarting the pace duties. The gap is holding but where are Kittel and Degenkolb if Greipel is the German leader? 

Ewan has pulled out once he reaches the pits for the first time while out in front his trade teammate Jens Keukeleire sets the pace for the leaders. The Italians have now joined the front and started to work.

The gap moves out to 1:22 with 99km to go. Advantage Boonen, Sagan and Viviani. 

A large group come over the line and they're pulled out of the race. We might only have about 30 finishers today. The gap is at 1:26 with 99km to go.

Swift, Rowe, Thomas, and Cummings all out of the race for Great Britain. A very disappointing ride from a team that were looking to dominate here. They still have Cavendish in the lead group with Blythe but they lack numbers. 

Degenkolb comes to the front for the chase and starts to take a long pull. However once he swings off all the momentum is lost. 

Viviani has a bike change. That looked planned as he swung through the pits. He's quickly back with the leaders with six laps to go. The gap is almost up to two minutes. 

Blythe has a puncture. The speed of the change is a bit of a problem but he should be able to come back through the convoy. Greipel has attacked from the chase group, but he's chased by the Belgians. Tony Martin is the latest rider to pull out of the race. 

No sweat. Blythe makes it back to the leading group. The Tinkoff man doesn't have a contract yet for next year but he's really putting himself in the shop window today. The gap to the Greipel group is out to 1:57.

Italy are starting to play more of a role at the front of the race. They've upped the input with Bennati at the front of the leading group. 

76km remaining from 257km

A reminder of the main names in the lead group:

Boonen, Sagan, Cavendish, Kristoff, Matthews, Van Avermaet, Viviani, Nizzolo, Boasson Hagen, Blythe, Bennati, Hayman, Terpstra, Leezer, Guarnieri, Petit, Keukeleire, Naesen, Roelandts, Stuyven, group

70km remaining from 257km

Degenkolb squirts the content of his bottle in the face of a Belgian rider. He's lost it. The Belgian rider just marks him and they're arguing, or rather Degenkolb is shouting and now pointing his finger in Debusschere's face.  

60km remaining from 257km

Kittel is cooked. He's pulled out of the line in the chase and looks set to pull out of the race.

Boonen and Van Avermaet are sitting midway in the lead group, not working, and just saving their efforts and strength for later in the race. They have their teammates on the front, however, with the lead group strung out.

52km remaining from 257km

The numerical advantage enjoyed by Belgium is all well and good, but they won't want to bring Cavendish, Matthews, Sagan and Kristoff to a sprint finish.

Keukeleire comes through for another turn. He's been a rock today for Belgium and doesn't show any signs of cracking yet. We've just entered the final 50km of the race with the Greipel group now at 2:05. 

Cavendish can't fault Blythe's ride one bit. The Tinkoff rider has put in an immense shift today and really looked after his leader. Sagan drifts up to the Manxman's rear wheel and takes a look at the favourite should this race come down to a group sprint. 

Korsaeth has taken over at the front. That's the first time we've really seen Norway at the front since the race split up. Three laps to go now and just over 45km of racing remaining. 

Degenkolb has pulled out. An eventual day for the German ends with him slumping at the side of a support car in the shade. He's in pieces and needs attention from the German crew as he pulls off his gloves and helmet. 

40km remaining from 257km

Race update: 



Keukeleire pulls up, his work done for the day. That leaves the Belgians with four, two of whom will looking to win this race. Italy, Norway, starting to strengthen their hand at this point. Two laps to go. Still no attacks from the front group with a lot of tired legs out there. 

Naesen takes a bottle from the side of the rode before nestling down over the bars once more as he tries to reduce drag. Cavendish, Mattthews, Sagan, Kirstoff, Boasson Hagen, Van Avermaet, Viviani, and Nizzolo all here. Half the break could put themselves forward as medal contenders. 

We should mention Hayman. He won Paris-Roubaix, beating Boonen in a sprint. If there's an attack he will go with it rather than leadout Matthews, who can take care of himself in situations like this.

Viviani has gone back to the team car for the second time in the last twenty minutes or so. He takes a gel, talks to Cassini and then comes back to the lead group. 

22km remaining from 257km

Roth who has been at the back of the leading group for several hours, is calling for a team car. 20km to go as Sagan takes on food. Italy and Norwary come back to the front once more to help tap out a steady pace with the second group down at 3:27. 

Terpstra is still there and not been on the front once. He has to attack and surely will if he gets the chance. He's won the Tour of Qatar in the past as we see Roth dangling off the back of the group.

Boonen is waiting on the sprint now surely, as we see sprinters fix themselves to certain wheels. Viviani picks Van Avermaet. Cavendish and Sagan stick close to each other with Kristoff on Boasson Hagen. As we reach dusk it's starting to get tense out there. Blythe moves Cavendish up as we start the final lap. One lap to go. 

So into the final 12km of the World Championships and the sprinters are starting to stretch and prepare for the finale. If it stays like this it will end in a bunch sprint between some of the fastest men in the world. 

The group line out with Belgium still on the front, still setting the pace. They've dominated today and dictated the entire unfolding of the action. Italy look controlled and calm as they line out with Norway just behind them. Cavendish and Blythe are at the back of the leaders and just plotting their next move.

10km remaining from 257km

One final long pull from Stuyven so that leaves Boonen with just two men. as we go into the final 7km of the race.

And Bennati winds it up for Italy as we approach the final 6km of racing. Norway then take over. Everyone is running on fumes now.

And Bennati pulls over, his work done for the day. 5.3km to go. And Terpstra attacks. He's matched by Van Avermaet. 

The move is caught straight away. Hayman also watched the move. Now Kolar takes over.

Blythe is protecting Cavendish a bit further down as we hit 4.2km to go.

Blythe is making sure that no one can get on Cavendish's wheel. The Di Data rider is marking Sagan. 

3.5km to go.

Roelandts is leading Boonen, a good leadout man to have in a situation like this. 

3km to go. 

The Italians a little further back in the group but still with options. 

A lull in the pace. 

So Norway take over once more. And Lezer attacks and this is a huge move.

He has a gap and Norway are leading the chase. He has about 50m already with 1.9km to go. This is really dangerous. 

Lezer is really pushing it. He's gaining ground. Can he pull of a huge shock?

Belgium start to chase but this is a huge ask with 1.3km to go.

1.2km to go. Lezer is still leading. 

Here come Belgium but Lezer still leads. 

The gap is coming down.

Cavendish on Sagan's wheel. 500 to go.

Sagan Sagan Sagan. 

What a sprint. The Belgian lead out with Cavendish taking over but Sagan comes on the far side to take a second world title. 

Sagan just had more power and just takes the rainbow jersey. Cavendish looked to almost have it there but he lost Sagan's wheel.

Boonen finished third in the sprint. 

And now we hear from our new world champion:

Matthews, second last year was down in fourth. Nothing for Norway or Italy despite having numbers in the lead group. 

Here's our top ten: 


Apparently Cavendish crashed during the week. The podium riders, Boonen, Cavendish and Sagan are now receiving their medals from Brian Cookson. 

Boonen's sprint: He simply came through the middle, started well but didn't have the leg speed with Sagan and Cavendish having the edge. 

You can find our report, images, and results, right here.

Not sure what happened to Viviani in the end... whether he was leading out Nizzoli or just ran out of gas. Still that's Italy's best result for a while in the Worlds. 5th for Nizzolo. Norway simply didn't have the legs with Boasson Hagen and Kristoff taking 6th and 7th.

We've added another huge batch of images to our race report, which you can find, here.

Not sure that last Tweet made it through. It was from Mark Cavendish.

Mark Cavendish has now spoken to the BBC. Here's what the British rider had to say:

"I am just disappointed I messed up tactically," Cavendish told BBC Sport.


hmm indeed Mr Hushovd. Both Kristoff and Boasson Hagen have spoken at the finish. A similar situation the one Australia found themselves in last year.

We have video highlights of the race, which you can watch, right here.

Thanks for joining us today. We hope you've enjoyed our coverage from the 2016 World Championships. We'll see you next year. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

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

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

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