The Slovak attacked with just over 3km to go on the final cobbled climb of the race to hold off the chasing peloton to take the rainbow jersey

Peter Sagan (Slovakia) delivered a masterclass of attacking riding to take his first World Championship road race victory in Richmond, USA on Sunday, beating Michael Matthews (Australia) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania) who finished second and third respectively in the following bunch sprint.

The peloton was together as they approached the first of two cobbled climbs on the final lap of the circa 16km circuit, with Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) making the first attack to try and finally break things up to avoid a sprint finish.

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Pre-race favourite John Degenkolb (Germany) followed, as did Greg van Avermaet (Belgium), but they were unable to put any significant distance between them and the rest of the pack.

Everyone was together again as they hit the second climb, with Sagan sitting way down the pack as he launched a ferocious move, surging out front and immediately creating a gap with 3km to go.

World Championships - Mens Road Race

Peter Sagan attacks at the 2015 Worlds (Watson)

Van Avermaet made chase along with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), but disorganisation meant they were unable to pull much distance back on the Slovak leader.

The pack were quickly closing down on Sagan as he rode up the final climb to the finishing straight, but the 25-year-old dug deep with pain etched across his face, holding on to the gap with enough time to celebrate as he crossed the line.

The mammoth race saw a number of breakaway attempts and moves to break things up on the course around the city in Virginia, but the most dangerous was instigated by Britain’s Ian Stannard on the second cobbled climb.

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Stannard attacked on third to final lap, and was quickly joined by defending champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Tom Boonen (Belgium), Daniel Moreno (Spain), Elia Viviani (Italy), Bauke Mollema (Netherlands), Andrey Amador (Costa Rica), establishing a 33 second gap.

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Things began to look worrying for the peloton as no-one appeared to want to take up the chase, but Germany finally took control, though burned off a number of Degenkolb’s key men, but brought things back together with one lap to go.

More attacks came immediately as the bunch crossed the finish line for the penultimate time, but no-one was able to get more than an arm’s length away from the pack as the riders geared up for the finale.

But no-one was able to do anything about Sagan’s move, and the Tinkoff-Saxo rider has earned himself a year in the coveted rainbow jersey after the biggest win of his career.

World Championships - Mens Road Race

Peter Sagan celebrates in his rainbow jersey (Watson)


Elite men’s road race (259km)

1. Peter Sagan (Svk), in 6-14-37
2. Michael Matthews (Aus), at 3 secs
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu)
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
5. Alejandro Valverde (Esp)
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus)
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra)
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol)
9. Rui Costa (Por)
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel), all same time

Selected others:

22. Ben Swift (GBr)

  • blemcooper

    To be fair to Matthews, he was asked direct questions by the media about two Aussies being in the top ten, whether the team had two leaders as their plan, etc.

    But he did choose to say that Sagan “slipped” off the front, which sounds a bit dismissive of what Sagan did. It’s not as though he snuck off and they forgot about him–Van Avermaet and Boasson Hagen were chasing hard after him nearly the whole time, and Matthews chose not to participate in that effort.

  • trubac777

    Simply the best. King of the cycling! Thanks Peter. It was great!

  • cusser from jamaica

    To be honest I had Stybar to win. He attacked on Libby but really should have followed and waited for the 23rd st enevitable attack from the remaining holdouts. Sagan with no team had to leave it late and large. Stybar was brave but his friend Peter was clinical with his attack. Hit them Leave them. Suffer. Win. Hollywood ending. Only in America!

  • Nigel Rue

    What’s the difference between the jet that carried the Aussies to Richmond and the Aussies themselves? The jet stopped whining when it got to it’s destination.

  • J1

    *Chucks bike, helmet and sunglasses away, walks around high-fiving other riders crossing the finish line* – Best celebration ever. Boonen was loving it.

  • J1

    It wouldn’t have made any difference, you’re right, it was a monster ride by Sagan, made it look easy too.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Fabulous race and Peter Sagan deservedly the winner

  • Nigel Rue

    I think we may see a very special Peter Sagan in the Classics next year.

  • saliya weerakkody

    well done peter sagan new world champion,2015. you grate victory my hart congratulations.thanks to cooch olfg tinkoff and teem ,slovakia pepole,slovak cycling fedarations and govermant wish by ( ex cyclist sri lanka)

  • blemcooper

    It was great to see the immediate congratulations from and genuinely smiling faces of his rivals for today, especially Tom Boonen. They could tell that Sagan made a gutsy move and won it in style today.

    Sour grapes award though goes to Michael Matthews whining about the full 9-strong Australian team coming with two leaders, how things might have turned out differently (i.e. gold instead of silver) if only Gerrans had worked for him rather than each sprinting for themselves. Come on, Sagan won it by attacking off the front, solo’ing for a few KM, taking big risks in corners and had only two other guys on his team.

  • Viktor Gašparovski

    Peter Sagan (Slo) ? what? PETER SAGAN SVK (Slovakia not Slovenia)