Peter Sagan launched a brilliant solo attack 2.5 kilometres from home to claim the rainbow jersey with victory in the UCI Men’s World Championship road race in Richmond.
Sagan and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet charged up the final cobblestone climb at 23rd Street and from there Sagan surged to the front and kept the lead to the finish line.
He was able to ease up and enjoy the moment as he crossed the line comfortably clear of Australia’s Michael Matthews in second and Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania in third. “I’m very happy for this”.
With so many stars at the front, their fellow leaders were hesitant to take charge of the group, giving the peloton a chance to close the gap.
Sagan, a four-time stage victor at the Tour de France, completed the course in six hours 14 minutes and 37 seconds and said it was the biggest win of his career. This seemed to favour the bigger, more powerful riders and sprinters, with the likes of Sagan, John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff seen as favourites.
Mollema will work but he’s not renowned for his tactics – Boonen won’t work, neither will Kwiatkowski – who, it must be said looks very cool. “I think it is big problem with Europe and all this stuff that is happening”.
Those were Belgium’s Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert, Rui Costa of Portugal and last year’s victor, Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski. I just ate all the gels that I had and I was waiting for the last cobblestone climb, and from there I was full gas until the finish.
American Tyler Farrar and Kanstantsin Siutsou of Belarus tried again with 10km remaining but an Italian-led peloton chased them down just before the narrow, winding Libby Hill cobblestone climb, where a French attack failed. He tossed his helmet into the crowd, then high-fived his biggest rivals as they joined him at the finish.
It was the first world championship medal in the men’s road race for Slovakia, but hardly one that came as a surprise. Not since Italy’s Paolo Bettini in 2007 has a rider repeated as world road race victor. I was a little bit also in the insane.