Peter Sagan will wear the coveted Rainbow Jersey for a second consecutive year after a thrilling win at the World Championships in Doha.
The Slovakian beat second-placed Mark Cavendish to the line with Belgian Tom Boonen third. Australia’s Michael Matthews finished agonisingly close to a podium position riding fourth to veteran Boonen, who won the world championships way back in 2005.
“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.
An upset and disappointed Mark Cavendish, World Champion in 2011, said he lost gold, instead of winning silver.
“With the speed I had, and the power I had in my legs, that’s going to eat at me for a long time,” he said.
“I got boxed in, it’s stupid — I never got boxed in. I had to stop pedalling and come from the other side. At that point it was too late.”
The first back-to-back World Champion since Italian Paulo Bettini in 2006/ 2007, Sagan humbly accepted the huge win.
“In the end, I said we’d go for the sprint and it was a lottery for sure,” Sagan said.
“I started sprinting on the right side and I was lucky they didn’t close me on the right side. It was a lot of good luck for me, I think maybe destiny. It doesn’t happen every day that you can sprint like this.”
2016 UCI Road World Championships Top 5
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) 5hrs 40mins 43secs
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Same time
3. Tom Boonen (Bel)
4. Michael Matthews (Aus)
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita)