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

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

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Slovakia)5:40:43
2Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Tom Boonen (Belgium)Row 2 - Cell 2
4Michael Matthews (Australia)Row 3 - Cell 2
5Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy)Row 4 - Cell 2
6Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)Row 5 - Cell 2
7Alexander Kristoff (Norway)Row 6 - Cell 2
8William Bonnet (France)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Niki Terpstra (Netherlands)Row 8 - Cell 2
10Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)Row 9 - Cell 2
11Jacopo Guarnieri (Italy)Row 10 - Cell 2
12Adam Blythe (Great Britain)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)0:00:04
14Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)0:00:09
15Ryan Roth (Canada)Row 14 - Cell 2
16Truls Korsaeth (Norway)Row 15 - Cell 2
17Tom Leezer (Netherlands)Row 16 - Cell 2
18Nick Dougall (South Africa)Row 17 - Cell 2
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)Row 23 - Cell 2
25Daniele Bennati (Italy)Row 24 - Cell 2
26Alexsandr Porsev (Russian Federation)0:05:26
27Aidis Kruopis (Lithuania)Row 26 - Cell 2
28Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Argentina)Row 27 - Cell 2
29Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Sven Erik Bystrom (Norway)Row 29 - Cell 2
31Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Nacer Bouhanni (France)Row 31 - Cell 2
33Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spain)Row 32 - Cell 2
34Marco Haller (Austria)Row 33 - Cell 2
35Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)Row 34 - Cell 2
36Michael Schar (Switzerland)Row 35 - Cell 2
37Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands)Row 36 - Cell 2
38Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)Row 37 - Cell 2
39Juraj Sagan (Slovakia)Row 38 - Cell 2
40Maciej Bodnar (Poland)Row 39 - Cell 2
41Iljo Keisse (Belgium)Row 40 - Cell 2
42Andre Greipel (Germany)Row 41 - Cell 2
43Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)Row 42 - Cell 2
44Koen De Kort (Netherlands)Row 43 - Cell 2
45Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Manuel Quinziato (Italy)Row 45 - Cell 2
47Jens Debusschere (Belgium)Row 46 - Cell 2
48Dylan Van Baarle (Netherlands)Row 47 - Cell 2
49Ben Swift (Great Britain)Row 48 - Cell 2
50Mitchell Docker (Australia)Row 49 - Cell 2
51Zakkari Dempster (Australia)0:05:33
52Scott Thwaites (Great Britain)Row 51 - Cell 2
53Robin Carpenter (United States Of America)0:06:03
DNFJens Keukeleire (Belgium)Row 53 - Cell 2
DNFMauro Abel Richeze (Argentina)Row 54 - Cell 2
DNFMekseb Debesay (Eritrea)Row 55 - Cell 2
DNFRyan Mullen (Ireland)Row 56 - Cell 2
DNFMarc Sarreau (France)Row 57 - Cell 2
DNFArnaud Demare (France)Row 58 - Cell 2
DNFHugo Houle (Canada)Row 59 - Cell 2
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)Row 60 - Cell 2
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)Row 61 - Cell 2
DNFDavid De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spain)Row 62 - Cell 2
DNFJack Bauer (New Zealand)Row 63 - Cell 2
DNFFrancisco Ventoso (Spain)Row 64 - Cell 2
DNFLuis Angel Mate Mardones (Spain)Row 65 - Cell 2
DNFReto Hollenstein (Switzerland)Row 66 - Cell 2
DNFAlexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan)Row 67 - Cell 2
DNFYoucef Reguigui (Algeria)Row 68 - Cell 2
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Japan)Row 69 - Cell 2
DNFNikolas Maes (Belgium)Row 70 - Cell 2
DNFJoseph Rosskopf (United States Of America)Row 71 - Cell 2
DNFFabian Lienhard (Switzerland)Row 72 - Cell 2
DNFCarlos Barbero Cuesta (Spain)Row 73 - Cell 2
DNFOmar Fraile Matarranz (Spain)Row 74 - Cell 2
DNFBernhard Eisel (Austria)Row 75 - Cell 2
DNFDion Smith (New Zealand)Row 76 - Cell 2
DNFMatt Brammeier (Ireland)Row 77 - Cell 2
DNFLukasz Wisniowski (Poland)Row 78 - Cell 2
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Canada)Row 79 - Cell 2
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Norway)Row 80 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Hoelgaard (Norway)Row 81 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Morkov (Denmark)Row 82 - Cell 2
DNFLars Ytting Bak (Denmark)Row 83 - Cell 2
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Canada)Row 84 - Cell 2
DNFJos Van Emden (Netherlands)Row 85 - Cell 2
DNFMatti Breschel (Denmark)Row 86 - Cell 2
DNFChristopher Juul Jensen (Denmark)Row 87 - Cell 2
DNFJohn Degenkolb (Germany)Row 88 - Cell 2
DNFViacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation)Row 89 - Cell 2
DNFMarcel Kittel (Germany)Row 90 - Cell 2
DNFSonny Colbrelli (Italy)Row 91 - Cell 2
DNFJasha Sutterlin (Germany)Row 92 - Cell 2
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg)Row 93 - Cell 2
DNFChristophe Laporte (France)Row 94 - Cell 2
DNFNelson Oliveira (Portugal)Row 95 - Cell 2
DNFTony Martin (Germany)Row 96 - Cell 2
DNFGregory Rast (Switzerland)Row 97 - Cell 2
DNFBob Jungels (Luxembourg)Row 98 - Cell 2
DNFNils Politt (Germany)Row 99 - Cell 2
DNFSam Bennett (Ireland)Row 100 - Cell 2
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Australia)Row 101 - Cell 2
DNFSergiy Lagkuti (Ukraine)Row 102 - Cell 2
DNFSoren Kragh Andersen (Denmark)Row 103 - Cell 2
DNFSoufiane Haddi (Morocco)Row 104 - Cell 2
DNFAzzedine Lagab (Algeria)Row 105 - Cell 2
DNFAlexey Vermeulen (United States Of America)Row 106 - Cell 2
DNFChad Haga (United States Of America)Row 107 - Cell 2
DNFClint Hendricks (South Africa)Row 108 - Cell 2
DNFRyan Gibbons (South Africa)Row 109 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Turek (Czech Republic)Row 110 - Cell 2
DNFAndriy Vasylyuk (Ukraine)Row 111 - Cell 2
DNFMihkel Raim (Estonia)Row 112 - Cell 2
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukraine)Row 113 - Cell 2
DNFEdwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Colombia)Row 114 - Cell 2
DNFOmar Alberto Mendoza Cardona (Colombia)Row 115 - Cell 2
DNFIan Stannard (Great Britain)Row 116 - Cell 2
DNFMaksym Averin (Azerbaijan)Row 117 - Cell 2
DNFLukasz Owsian (Poland)Row 118 - Cell 2
DNFMaciej Paterski (Poland)Row 119 - Cell 2
DNFMatti Manninen (Finland)Row 120 - Cell 2
DNFGeraint Thomas (Great Britain)Row 121 - Cell 2
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Netherlands)Row 122 - Cell 2
DNFMark Renshaw (Australia)Row 123 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Banaszek (Poland)Row 124 - Cell 2
DNFStephen Cummings (Great Britain)Row 125 - Cell 2
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)Row 126 - Cell 2
DNFLuka Pibernik (Slovenia)Row 127 - Cell 2
DNFJiri Polnicky (Czech Republic)Row 128 - Cell 2
DNFTom Dumoulin (Netherlands)Row 129 - Cell 2
DNFFabio Sabatini (Italy)Row 130 - Cell 2
DNFCarlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Colombia)Row 131 - Cell 2
DNFAdam De Vos (Canada)Row 132 - Cell 2
DNFBrayan Stiven Ramirez Chacon (Colombia)Row 133 - Cell 2
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan)Row 134 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Oss (Italy)Row 135 - Cell 2
DNFAndzs Flaksis (Latvia)Row 136 - Cell 2
DNFYoann Offredo (France)Row 137 - Cell 2
DNFIoannis Tamouridis (Greece)Row 138 - Cell 2
DNFCyril Lemoine (France)Row 139 - Cell 2
DNFAnton Vorobyev (Russian Federation)Row 140 - Cell 2
DNFKarol Domagalski (Poland)Row 141 - Cell 2
DNFMaxim Belkov (Russian Federation)Row 142 - Cell 2
DNFFabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uruguay)Row 143 - Cell 2
DNFSilvan Dillier (Switzerland)Row 144 - Cell 2
DNFSergey Lagutin (Russian Federation)Row 145 - Cell 2
DNFAndrei Nechita (Romania)Row 146 - Cell 2
DNFMartin Elmiger (Switzerland)Row 147 - Cell 2
DNFPirmin Lang (Switzerland)Row 148 - Cell 2
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spain)Row 149 - Cell 2
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Norway)Row 150 - Cell 2
DNFDiego Rubio (Spain)Row 151 - Cell 2
DNFAndriy Kulyk (Ukraine)Row 152 - Cell 2
DNFJonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)Row 153 - Cell 2
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)Row 154 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Rowe (Great Britain)Row 155 - Cell 2
DNFFernando Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)Row 156 - Cell 2
DNFWalter Alejandro Vargas Alzate (Colombia)Row 157 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Mclay (Great Britain)Row 158 - Cell 2
DNFAdrien Petit (France)Row 159 - Cell 2
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (France)Row 160 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Durbridge (Australia)Row 161 - Cell 2
DNFCaleb Ewan (Australia)Row 162 - Cell 2
DNFSteele Von Hoff (Australia)Row 163 - Cell 2
DNFMatteo Trentin (Italy)Row 164 - Cell 2
DNFSondre Holst Enger (Norway)Row 165 - Cell 2
DNFRoman Maikin (Russian Federation)Row 166 - Cell 2
DNFEric Marcotte (United States Of America)Row 167 - Cell 2
DNFVojtech Hacecky (Czech Republic)Row 168 - Cell 2
DNFAlois Kankovsky (Czech Republic)Row 169 - Cell 2
DNFFrantisek Sisr (Czech Republic)Row 170 - Cell 2
DNFAndrii Bratashchuk (Ukraine)Row 171 - Cell 2
DNFMykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)Row 172 - Cell 2
DNFJose Goncalves (Portugal)Row 173 - Cell 2
DNFSergio Paulinho (Portugal)Row 174 - Cell 2
DNFGrega Bole (Slovenia)Row 175 - Cell 2
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slovenia)Row 176 - Cell 2
DNFMetkel Eyob (Eritrea)Row 177 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)Row 178 - Cell 2
DNFIssak Tesfom Okubamariam (Eritrea)Row 179 - Cell 2
DNFMeron Teshome Hagos (Eritrea)Row 180 - Cell 2
DNFAlo Jakin (Estonia)Row 181 - Cell 2
DNFGert Joeaar (Estonia)Row 182 - Cell 2
DNFSalaheddine Mraouni (Morocco)Row 183 - Cell 2
DNFAbderrahmane Mehdi Hamza (Algeria)Row 184 - Cell 2
DNFRyan Anderson (Canada)Row 185 - Cell 2
DNFSiarhei Papok (Belarus)Row 186 - Cell 2
DNFKanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)Row 187 - Cell 2
DNFFrancisco Chamorro (Argentina)Row 188 - Cell 2
DNFMaris Bogdanovics (Latvia)Row 189 - Cell 2
DNFBurr Ho (Hong Kong, China)Row 190 - Cell 2
DNFBonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwanda)Row 191 - Cell 2
DNFRene Corella (Mexico)Row 192 - Cell 2
DNFHassen Ben Nasser (Tunisia)Row 193 - Cell 2
DNFTedros Redae (Ethiopia)Row 194 - Cell 2
DNFJonas Ahlstrand (Sweden)Row 195 - Cell 2
DNFMyagmarsuren Baasankhuu (Mongolia)Row 196 - Cell 2
DNSRigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)Row 197 - Cell 2
DNSVegard Breen (Norway)Row 198 - Cell 2

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