Peter Sagan says he definitely mis-read Yorkshire Worlds road race

The three-time world champion missed out on sealing a fourth record-breaking title

Peter Sagan finishes the men's road race at the Yorkshire World Championships (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A mis-calculation cost Peter Sagan a chance to win a record fourth World Championships title in Yorkshire on Sunday.

The Slovakian, already winner in 2015, 2016 and 2017, saw Italian Matteo Trentin and Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel ride clear, but instead gambled and waited.

>>> Here are all the winners in all the categories at the Yorkshire World Championships 2019

Instead, Dane Mads Pedersen, who was already up the road, won the rainbow jersey. Sagan, stuck behind, ended the 260.7km race fifth.

"I just missed the right move, the one that probably would have made me win my fourth world title," Sagan told Tutto Bici.

Sagan stayed well protected during the entire rain-soaked day from Leeds to Yorkshire. He relied on Erik Baška and his brother Juraj. When the time mattered, he began to show himself.

Stars like Van der Poel did the same. The young Dutchman attacked at 33 kilometres out and Trentin followed. Sagan is known for these sort of moves, but had to decide whether to go now or later.

"I thought Van der Poel and Trentin would be caught and the race would have ended in a sprint," he added.

"I definitely mis-read it. Things went differently, not as I expected and imagined."

The pressure built as the five-man move ahead started thinking about the rainbow jersey. Sagan looked around at the other teams like France and Belgium, whose stars might have still had helpers. Time ran out eventually and Sagan attacked, but with 3.3km remaining it was too late.

"During the last lap I attacked, I wanted to test myself and understand how I was compared to the others, after all, you know that it is in my character to improvise," he said. "I was not bad, I felt good."

Belgium had lost Philippe Gilbert to a crash and French star Julian Alaphilippe, like most others, was nullified by the hours of cold, wet weather.

"I was convinced that more teams would have arrived at the final in better condition and could work differently, but due to the weather conditions there were lots of abandons and several national teams remained short of men."

Only 46 of the 197 starters finished. Sagan did better than in Innsbruck in 2018, when he pulled out due to the amount of climbing in the course.

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

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

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.