With the race against the clock done and dusted our attention now turns to the road races at this year’s UCI Road World Championships. The action kicks off today with the Under 23 men’s event, where the 122 riders will contest 10 laps of the Geelong, Australia, circuit for a total of 159kms. Click here to view the complete entry list for today's event.
Note: Rider name (Nickname): USA's Ben King (Burger King), Australia's Ben King (Vegemite King), Hong Kong's King Lok Cheung (King Kong)
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome back to the Cyclingnews blimp for the first of the road races at this, the 2010 UCI Road World Championships.
Over the next four hours and 15 minutes we'll be following as 122 of the world's most promising youngsters battle over a 15.9 kilometre course in Geelong, Australia. Each rider is hoping to secure that gold medal and rainbow jersey for his country - many hoping to catch the eye of professional team managers in the hope of taking the next step in their career.
With all that on the line you can expect to see an exciting race with attacks aplenty. Let's do it!
And the peloton is away from the uphill start/finish line. Remember throughout the afternoon you can keep in touch with the commentator by e-mailing email@example.com - nobody likes to feel alone, so feel free to keep me company and drop me a line.
There's some wide roads over these early kilometres, so the peloton is spread out just waiting for the first person to make their move.
One rider has made a solo attack and would you believe, it's Ben King (USA). He's gained a few hundred metres on the peloton.
For those who don't know, just under two weeks ago King launched a move at the USPro Championships...and the peloton never saw him again. That's right King might be a U23 rider here, but he's the current US national champion too.
We'll have similar time checks throughout the day as we've used for the time trials, with the first coming at 6.5 kilometres. We should get an idea of King's lead at that point.
Two Australian riders and a Dutch rider are at the front of the peloton setting the pace. They don't look too fussed by King's move at this point.
Crash! Crash! Jean-Lou Paiani (France) and Pim Ligthart (Netherlands) are in a group of about 10 to go down as the road narrows. Daniel Diaz (Argentina) and Sébastien Reichenbach (Switzerland) were in there too.
Everyone is okay and look to be back on their bikes. The road narrowed through some barriers and clearly the boys had different opinions on how to deal with that.
The first climb has given the riders that fell a chance to catch back on to the peloton's rear. So they're all back together there now, about 1:02 minutes behind King.
Jonathan tells me George Bennett (New Zealand) is about 50kgs and has asked if he's looking in fine form. If he's that light he must be looking in need of a burger...but yes, it could be a good course for him.
Georg Preidler (Austria) led the peloton through the first time check, 55 seconds down on Ben King (USA).
Do you think Ben could ride away with his second title in as many weeks? I don't think so either, but wouldn't it be incredible to see. He's just made his way on to the temporary bridge - I wouldn't want to be in the peloton when it reaches that section (but then I know I can't ride)!
Malcolm Rudolph (Australia) and Taylor Phinney (USA) are two riders making sure they stay near the front of the peloton. I'm sure that's not just a coincidence.
Linda the lovely weather lady tells me we should be experiencing a clear afternnoon today. The morning has been warmer than the last two days, however light cloud has rolled in this afternoon. Very little in the way of wind at the moment.
Marco Sérgio Dias Coelho (Portugal) has had a flat tyre and is - slowly - getting it sorted.
Okay, these guys are playing with me: An attack has been launched by Ben King. But not that Ben King. You see Australia also has a Ben King - same name, same age, and were even on the same trade team this year!
Jelle Wallays (Belgium) and Andi Bajc (Slovenia) have followed the Australian's move and they are swapping off turns as they chase the American.
Jay has asked: What is prototcol for riders at Worlds in regards to uniforms? Ben king does not get to wear his usa jersey, does he?
The answer is no, but at the same time he's still wearing a USA jersey. The riders from national teams each wear the same kit as their teammates from the same nation. King will have a custom version of his trade team kit made that includes the US colours which he will use at other races, but not events were he's representing for the US of A.
More riders have followed the chase group but it's starting to look like it will be shut down.
The chase has been caught by the peloton, but guess who has launched a counter attack? Ben King (Australia).
Ben King of the USA type has completed his first lap of the 15.9km course in 23:59.
Aussie Ben King has crossed about 42 seconds down while the peloton is another 40 seconds behind.
Who will be the King of kings? Sorry, had to be said.
Scott says: Go Ben! Can he pull it off and put American cycling back on the map!?
Not sure if you missed it Scott, but Taylor Phinney won the U23 time trial for the USA just two days ago. I don't think y'all falling off the map anytime soon.
Alex Howes (United States Of America) is sitting near the front of the peloton now, while the Dutch team keeps the pace at the front.
For those of you asking for Saint Kitts and Nevis rider updates I have some shocking news: There's no SKN riders for us to support in today's race.
I know, I know what you're thinking, so I've asked Pat McQuaid to address the matter for Copenhagen next year and he's assured me he'll take care of it*.
*This may or may not have actually happened.
Ben King (USA) has reached the first climb for the second time. The peloton is looking pretty happy with the current situation and is doing nothing to bring either King back.
Anyone wondering what the difference is between today's course and the time trial courses? Les Clarke rode it earlier in the week and this is what he had to say:
The essential difference between the two courses - for the U23 men, anyway - is the climb at the top part of the course. Whilst the TT course continued on a 'stepped' climb up Mt Pleasant Rd, the road race takes riders off Mt Pleasant Rd and sends them up Barwon Blvd then Challambra Crescent.
It's this last section of the climb that will really hurt the legs as a 200m section hits a gradient of close to 20 percent.
The climb may only gain 100m in altitude but it lasts 1,150m and has a nasty sting in the tail. From this point the road and time trial courses are the same, running down a fast descent along Scenic Rd, Queens Park Rd and over the specifically-made bridge before hitting a 500m climb that will be tackled from a slow speed.
The run to the Esplanade is fast and will offer the perfect place to chase down an attack that may have been launched on either of the two climbs.
Carter Jones (United States Of America) is the race's first retirement. He seems disappointed by physically okay, so we'll need to look into what's happened there.
I need a way to seperate the two Kings so from now on our chaser is Vegemite King. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas for our American King.
The leader has reached the 22.4 kilometre mark at the top of the first climb with a 58 second lead over Vegemite King.
Maximilian May (Germany) lead the peloton through the check point 2:47 minutes down on our race leader. They better watch that margin - if it hits nine minutes we could see King's incredible ride at the US nationals repeat itself.
Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Colombia), Michel Koch (Germany), Alex Howes (United States Of America) and Andrew Talansky (United States Of America) are all near the front of the peloton.
I think the German riders here are very keen for the win and have the squad to do it. We'll keep an eye on them.
The people have spoken: Burger King is extending his lead over both the peloton and Vegemite King. He’s pulled out about five seconds on the Australian and a little more on the peloton.
The American's lead is on the up; it seems the peloton is happy to let this one go for a while as he's now 3:18 minutes ahead of the peloton.
Burger King has crossed the line for a second time in 48:19 minutes after 31.8 kilometres. He took a moment to look back over his shoulder at the clock.
Vegemite King too has crossed the line, 1:13 minutes down. He looks like he's feeling the effort a little bit.
It looks like a Hong Kong rider wants in on the action and has attacked the peloton.
King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong, China) is about 30 seconds ahead of the peloton at the start/finish line and 3:47 minutes down on race leader Ben King (USA).
Someone asked how many Burger King suggestions I got: let's just say it was nearly unanimous from about 70 people...and counting.
Our American leader is looking excellent out there. He's powering towards the base of the first climb and that lead isn't getting any smaller, he has over two minutes on the Aussie rider in second.
Someone asked if I made up King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong, China) - no. It's the name on the entry list - I swear. I guess that makes him King Kong?
38.3 kilometres in to the race and USA king has crossed the timing point in 59:53 minutes - so he's sitting just under 39km/h for the first hour of the race.
120km remaining from 159km
Australia's King hasn't lost as much time as we were lead to believe. He's just crossed at the top of the climb about 1:20 down.
We're on the third lap now and it looks like the Russians have come out to play. A Russian rider has hit the peloton hard at the base of the climb: everyone is hanging on so far, but the peloton has strung out.
It looks like this rider is trying to narrow down a selection of riders.
Meanwhile King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong, China) has reached the top about 3:29 minutes down.
Moreno Moser (Italy) has made the most of the Russian's work and launched off his wheel. He's made it over the climb in fourth place but only metres ahead of the peloton, so he needs to decide whether to stay with the move or rest for another time.
Moreno Moser (Italy) is leading a four man selection down the descent, but they're only about 40 metres ahead of the peloton.
The group of four is hitting about 87km/h on the descent as they try to slip away from the peloton.
Maximilian May (Germany), Georg Preidler (Austria) and Rohann Dennis (Australia) are the trio on the Italian's wheel.
With the next climb just ahead the four look like they may well get caught.
The peloton settled down for a minute there on the rise, but you can tell they're wanting something to happen now. A French rider has tried to spark a move without success, but the peloton is still strung out.
Of course Moreno Moser has racing blood in him as the nephew of Francesco Moser - Giro d'Italia winner, World Champion...you name it, he did it.
While the peloton figures out what its plan is, Burger King has just turned the corner on to the home straight for what will be the end of his third lap on the course.
111km remaining from 159km
Ben King (USA) has seven laps remaining of the 15.9 kilometre course. He finished the first three in 1:13:08, but we're waiting for the chasers to cross the line for time checks.
Vegemite King has now rounded on to the finishing straight too, while back near the peloton it seems Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) has launched a solo move.
Ben King (Australia) is at 2:23 minutes after the third lap.
Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) has caught King Kong (King Lok Cheung) just before the finish line. It doesn't look like the Hong Kong rider has the power to stay with him though.
Ben King (USA) has nearly five minutes on the peloton after three laps. We must surely see the margin hold or a serious reaction from the peloton soon.
Burger King is turning those pedals on the climb again, taking a drink and offloading his bottle to a fan, while back in the peloton tempers seem to have cooled again for another moment.
Jay has asked an interesting question that perhaps a U23 history buff can answer: I noticed there a few countrys with only one representative. Has anyone ever won a rainbow jersey in a road race without any teamates?
Let me know - or ask something else - at email@example.com
104km remaining from 159km
Burger King has risen over the main climb in a time of 1:24:38 after 54.2 kilometres of racing. We'll call that about one third of race distance and he has a five minute lead over the peloton.
I still don't expect it but it would be incredible if he could do start-to-finish victory again! The odds are not good, but then, they weren't when he did it at the USPro Championship race two weeks ago, so who knows what could happen here in Australia.
Our Belarus rider Andrei Krasilnikau is on the hunt: he's caught Vegemite King on the climb. The Australian crossed the check point with Krasilnikau, but whether he has the legs to stay with the rider and chase down Burger King remains to be seen.
Lets say this doesn't go the way of Ben King (USA) and instead Taylor Phinney adds the road race title to his time trial title: he will be the second under-23 rider in history to achieve that feat. Russian Evgeni Petrov is the only rider to have won the double in Plouay, France in 2000.
Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) looks like he's feeling the effort he's put in and is breathing deeply as he rides next to Ben King (Australia). Interestingly King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong) has managed to hang in there and is just metres behind the pair as they reach our one third race distance mark.
Massimo Graziato (Italy) has lead the peloton over the climb 6:04 minutes behind the race leader. It looks like the Italian team again hit the peloton hard at the base of the climb. It still hasn't shed any riders, but with six more runs up the climb it will surely start to hurt over the coming laps.
A Dutch rider is now at the peloton's head, followed by a USA rider. They're clearly in no hurry as they take a drink and slow the peloton's pace.
95km remaining from 159km
Ben King (USA) has now finished his fourth lap, meaning just six more to go of the 15.9 kilometre circuit.
We've had a few responses to our question of whether anyone has won the U23 race without teammates. It's bee suggested they include: Sergey Lagutin, Jeremy Yates and Kurt Asle Arvesen.
Ben King (Australia), Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) and King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong) are still riding together. They're three minutes down on our leader.
John has asked: What will Ben King's salary be in 2011?
I'm not exactly sure John, but I'm guessing it's probably more than the $4/hour he'd get at Burger King!
The peloton is on the home straight now so we're about to get a look at how big this gap is getting. It looks like it's holding steady now, but we will see.
Yes, the gap is more or less the same at 6:08 minutes back from Burger King, while the chase group sits in between at three minutes from the American rider.
Another French rider has tried to get a move happening back in the peloton, but it doesn't seem to be gaining enough momentum as the peloton moves to close down the attempt.
Dan isn’t happy with me avoiding the salary question – it wasn’t intentional Dan! It’s a tricky question because they don’t talk about it much and there’s such a wide range of abilities and therefore salaries out there. A low-level rider on a ProTour team gets the minimum wage – which is dictated by the UCI at about 30,000 Euros. From there it goes all the way up to low multiples of millions for a Fabian Cancellara, Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck-type of rider.
Burger King has reached the top of the climb once more, this time in 1:49:41 for 70.1 kilometres. The trio are still chasing him together.
The French and German riders have taken the responsibility on the climb this time. They're not pushing as hard this time, but the pressure is still on back there.
Erica asked: When do the U23 world champions get to wear their rainbow jersey? Only when they're in U23 races? What about U23 winners who join a ProTour team (like Jacky Bobby & Sicard last year, and Taylor Phinney this year) do they ever get to wear the stripes? Could Taylor wear them in a pro time trial as long as Cancellara wasn't also racing?
You answered your own question in there, Erica. It's just the U23 races where these guys get to wear the jersey. Once they turn professional they can't wear their U23 champion colours as they're then riding in elite races as an elite rider.
Johan Le Bon (France) is the rider that was doing the work in the peloton, and it has made a difference. Sure, he wasn't as aggressive as the Italians, but he's brought the margin to Ben King (USA) back down to 5:14 minutes.
We've got a British rider doing the work behind the leaders. He's wearing a Trek-Livestrong helmet so that must be Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) who was unlucky in his time trial on Tuesday.
Pim Ligthart (Netherlands) has launched an attack in the peloton. He's pulled out a margin of about 100 metres in a short space of time - he even caught the motorbike ahead, which quickly got away to ensure the rider wasn't getting a tow in its draft.
Pim Ligthart (Netherlands) is happy with his try and has sat up - seems odd as he was going okay. Another rider has reacted but it looks like the peloton will shut him down also.
Michael has asked about race radios - they are not being used in this race this year, nor were they in the time trials over the last two days.
We seem to have a group forming off the front of the peloton. Four riders are swapping off turns.
They've been caught though as the peloton turns the final corner on to the up-hill finish straight, where the Italians are now putting the hammer down a little.
79km remaining from 159km
We're at half race distance now and the flurry back in the peloton on that last lap has done some damage: they've picked up over two minutes on leader Ben 'Burger' King. He now holds a 2:50 minute lead over the chase group of three, while the peloton is at 3:54 minutes.
I think we've found a new African rider to support: Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea) has launched an attack on the peloton now.
Big - and not good - news for the Americans as Andrew Talansky (United States Of America) pulls out of the race! He's one of a handful to drop out after the fifth lap, with Nikita Novikov (Russian Federation) another to call it a day, clearly looking exhausted.
Ariel Sivori (Argentina) is another rider gone out of the peloton. All three riders were two minutes behind the peloton when they crossed the line for the final time, that could be as they just put up the white flag over the closing kilometres of that lap as we didn't spot any crashes from the Cyclingnews blimp.
Adam has asked: Do they have toilet breaks on course?
They do, but it's not your usual 'mum can we stop at Maccas, I need to use the loo' type deal. You do what you can, when you can, as quick as you can. It's a bit the same up here in the blimp, really.
Moreno Moser (Italy) is the latest retirement from today's race - that's a shame for the Italians.
Scratch that, he's not only not retired it looks like he's made a move. We're just going to lower the blimp into shooting range so we can take out the producer that fed us that information.
Here we go: Moreno Moser (Italy) has actually caught the chase trio and was working to stay away with them, however it seems the day for two of our Kings is nearing its end. The peloton is just 16 seconds away from them.
The news is still okay for Burger King, though; his lead is still 2:54 minutes over the chase group. That start to finish victory is starting to look unlikely.
Burger King obviously has some minions out on the course feeding him information. There’s a sense of urgency in the way he’s riding now, the style has changed. He’s got his head down on the flat and pushing much harder than before.
Nélson Oliveira (Portugal) and Ronan Van Zandbeek (Netherlands) have attacked as the peloton shuts down the chase group. It was a good ride by our two Kings.
Jean-Lou Paiani (France) and Georg Preidler (Austria) have crossed to the two chasers, but that actions seems to have allowed the peloton to shut down the move.
So it's Burger King Vs. Le Peloton. All rise, this race is in session. Honourable (perhaps) commentator Greg Johnson presiding.
We're being fed some funny vision which seems to be out of order, so we're hoping to get the situation sorted once the chasers and peloton cross the line in a moment's time.
Okay, through that last few kilometres it turns out Ben King (Australia), Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus), King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong), Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) were still away.
So this is the actual situation:
1 Ben King (USA)
2 Ben King (Australia), Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus), King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong), Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) @ 2:27 minutes
3 Peloton at 2:58 minutes
Someone has asked if I can take a photo of the Cyclingnews blimp. According to the operation manual it would be unwise of me to step outside at the moment to take those, sorry.
If you have any questions, comments or abuse, fling it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to those who sent their bank account details yesterday, we're having a little dinner this evening, so drop me a line if you want an invite!
Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea) has attacked the peloton again and is joined by Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation) this time.
There's been some changes in the first chase group too, with Vegemite King falling off the back at the base of the climb while King Kong and Krasilnikau popped too. Moser lead Dowsett over the climb, with the British rider only just managing to stay on the Italian's wheel.
Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea) and Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation) have been caught by the peloton on the climb, as have Vegemite King and the Belarus rider.
57km remaining from 159km
So as they crest the climb on this lap, this was the situation:
1 Ben King (USA)
2 Moreno Moser (Italy) and Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) @ 1:08 minutes
3 Peloton at 1:27 minutes
Moser is powering down the descent - someone better check his bike for a motor (that joke used to be funny)! He's dropped Dowsett on the way down, it looks like the Italian has Burger King in his crosshairs.
Moser is going to catch Burger King at this rate, the American is better off sitting up now and waiting for the Italian in the hope of working with him.
The Italian has made the catch and Burger King has let him go to the front and set the pace for a while.
Moser is the nephew of a champion and it's showing right now. He doesn't want any fries on his ride, and as he turns on to the finishing straight, he's ridden Burger King off his wheel.
The peloton needs to watch this rider's margin closely.
In the few hundred metres from the last corner to the start/finish line Moser has pulled out 21 seconds over King.
47km remaining from 159km
Dowsett hasn't been caught by the peloton yet, he's about 43 seconds down on Moser but the peloton is at 1:15minutes. The riders have just completed lap seven.
Oh, folks: It’s beautiful...I wish you could see what I’m seeing. Burger King is driving the peloton now with none other than Vegemite King. The Australian team is sitting on the wheel of their salty teammate, the race is on as they recognise the threat Moser poses out front.
John has brought some delicious information to the table: So, with the current thread, that makes Moser the MOS Burger (Malaysian chain).
Moser is about to hit the climb on this lap and he is looking strong. GPS tells us he's taking time out of the peloton at 1:26 minutes while Great Britain's Alex Dowsett - the most prominent rider from today without a burger named after him - is still battling on at 41 seconds.
The peloton has reduced in size with about 15 riders dropping off the back. It's still about 100 strong through.
Moser is out of the saddle on the climb and it looks like a duck to water, Barrack Obama to the White House, a Frenchman to good cheese, it just looks right.
Moser is over the climb and if Mario Cipollini is awake, I'm sure he's got a tear in his eye watching that Cipollini fly down the descent.
Australia is leading the charge to stop the Italian's surge. They have two riders on the front with a Frenchman on their wheel. The charge is putting the pressure on the peloton which has snapped into three groups through the tight, twisty section on to the temporary bridge.
Malcom Rudolph (Australia) led the peloton over the climb 1:10 minutes behind Moser and it's Rohan Dennis up there doing the work with him. They're hoping to bring this back for Michael 'bling' Matthews to get a chance at glory.
If the Australians can get the job done here today they'd join Leonardo Giordani (Italy) who is the only rider to have won the world title in his home country. He beat his compatriot Luca Paolini in Verona in 1999.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) has stepped up the pressure in the peloton. They clearly know time is running out to make their move, but the pace isn't yet there to bring down the gap.
Hugo Houle (Canada) has had to drop back with a flat tyre - not good timing there!
31km remaining from 159km
Nélson Oliveira (Portugal) and Stefano Agostini (Italy) were slightly ahead of the peloton as they finished the eighth lap. The gap is 24 seconds with two laps remaining.
The time trial medal winners are now powering the peloton: Luke Durbridge (Australia) has Taylor Phinney (USA) on his wheel. They know they need to drag back this margin over the next lap.
While the GPS isn’t the most accurate measure, it’s telling me the difference is 16 and a bunch of billion dollar satellites has to be better than my naked eye, so I’m going with it.
Italy has an impressive record in the men’s under-23 road race, topping the all-time medal table with four gold and a total of 12 medals. Remarkable performances of the Italians include all-Italian podiums in 1996 (Figueras, Sgambelluri, Sironi) and 1998 (Basso, Nocentini, Di Luca).
The Belgians have realised they can play a part in this race even if it's not raining, and have put the whole team on the front of the peloton to drive the pace.
For our American friends wondering how long we've got left so they can get some sleep, we're within the last 40 minutes of the race.
Luke Durbridge (Australia) has caught back up to the peloton after dropping back to the team car.
Belgium might have a small land mass but in this sport it can accomplish a lot and they have, they’ve bought Moser back. The peloton is together.
Germany had its team ready to control but Tony Gallopin (France) has launched a solo attack.
Meanwhile out back the blokes are breaking - Turbo Durbo (Luke Durbridge) is the first to crack, but he's not alone.
Tony Gallopin (France) is on the climb and behind as the peloton hits the bottom, riders are hitting it hard.
25km remaining from 159km
Spain hasn't done anything all race but at the top of the climb Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spain) looks ready to make a move.
Our Frenchman has just a 12 second lead.
Taylor Phinney (USA) too was one of the first over the climb in the chase group. You crazy Texans up reading at this hour could get something to cheer about yet!
France has had a great year by its usual standard but today might not be its day as Tony Gallopin (France) holds on to just a slim advantage.
John Degenkolb (Germany) is leading a clear three-man chase of the French rider.
The German has Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) and Enrico Battaglin (Italy) with him. It's close though, with the leader, chase and peloton only about 300 metres apart.
The chase and leader has been caught by the peloton, prompting Jelle Wallays (Belgium) to attack. He has just a short advantage at the moment.
You're running out of time to use and abuse me, or ask questions or give me your tips. So with one lap remaining don't forget that address: email@example.com
Our Belgian man is being used as a carrot for the peloton. They don't want to catch him just yet.
We have just over one lap left and the peloton is largely in tact. That could mean we end up with an uphill bunch sprint for the title, but don't forget there's still one more time over that climb. Can someone smash it hard, spend all they have and hold out to the finish? We'll see.
15km remaining from 159km
The bell is ringing for the final lap as Adrian Honkisz (Poland), George Bennett (New Zealand) and Yannick Eijssen (Belgium) form a new lead group with a small margin as the other Belgian is caught.
Our 50kg Kiwi is out there but the peloton is going to consume them.
There's been a massive increase in pace - it's a sprint to the bottom of the climb at the moment.
It's the United Nations at the front of the peloton (only more organised!) as riders swap off turns and try to move a selection of riders off the front.
12km remaining from 159km
It's all together, despite a Norwegian's best efforts to tear it to bits.
This climb is going to hurt like trying to eat a family meal by yourself. There will be pain as the peloton tries to avoid a sprint finish.
Jean-Lou Paiani (France) has managed to ride the peloton off his wheel by about 100 metres. He's yet to hit the climb though, so survival is anything but assured.
Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong, China) and Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway) have taken up the chase, pulling the leader in before hitting the climb.
Rohan Dennis (Australia) has been dropped while Jean-Lou Paiani (France) isn't shaping up to be much of a climber.
Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spain) is playing his card on the steep part of the climb at 20 degrees.
The Spanish rider is pushing hard down the descent, but it seems the climb wasn't enough to really break the race up.
The peloton has reduced significantly but we're still looking at 40-odd riders.
Eduard Alexander Beltran Suarez (Colombia) is setting the pace on the descent.
6km remaining from 159km
Enrico Battaglin (Italy) is setting the pace now on the second climb but nobody seems to be able to make a decisive break.
5km remaining from 159km
Tony Gallopin (France) has hit them at the top of the climb and pulled out a margin.
Nélson Oliveira (Portugal) has followed the chase by George Bennett (New Zealand).
The New Zealand rider couldn't stay with the Portuguese rider but Romain Hardy (France) has joined instead.
3km remaining from 159km
The chase riders have been caught by the Spanish-lead peloton but Tony Gallopin (France) is still out front alone.
The Frenchman has just 50 metres on the peloton.
2km remaining from 159km
A Dutch rider is setting the pace as the Frenchman has been caught.
Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong, China) has had a big crash out of the peloton.
This is going to come down to a hard, long sprint up hill after the final corner. The bunch is together - about 40 riders - along the waterfront.
They are around the last corner with the Italians in the lead.
Phinney and Matthews are both in there.
Matthews is charging hard.
The French and Germans are chasing hard, but it might be too late.
Yes, yes, yes! It's Matthews for gold on home soild - just the second person in history to do so.
Well done bling!
John Degenkolb (Germany) has secured silver for his nation.
We're still waiting for details on third place - there's talk it's between a USA rider and a Canadian.
Matthews won't be wearing his jersey next year, as he'll turn professional with Rabobank.
Michael Matthews (Australia) on his victory:
It’s major respect, I couldn’t have done it without them, they were there the whole time for me.
It was a lot of pressure but it worked on my side as everyone felt like they had to beat me – I didn’t have to beat them.
I don’t think it will ever sink in, it’s just a dream come true.
It's confirmed: Taylor Phinney (USA) has taken the bronze medal.
So no Kings or food stuffs on the podium, but it's been a great race nonetheless.
And Canada has taken fourth place with Guillaume Boivin.
Thanks for joining me today folks - I hope you've had a bit of fun along the way. Feel free to come back tomorrow when the elite women hit our Geelong course in search of Worlds glory.
1 Michael Matthews (Australia)
2 John Degenkolb (Germany)
3 Taylor Phinney (USA)
4 Guillaume Boivin (Canada)
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