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Peter Sagan wins the UCI Road World Championship

Slovak rider launched late attack on 23rd Street climb from strong pack and held on to win

Peter Sagan of Slovakia launched a late attack from a bunch including four former world champions to claim the rainbow jersey in Richmond, Virginia today.

The 25-year-old attacked on the cobbled climb of 23rd Street, the last ascent of the race, to win from Australia's Michael Matthews, with Lithuania's Ramunas Navardauskus completing the podium.

In his wake, Sagan left the four previous winners of the rainbow jersey who began today's race, all of them still in the bunch that was set to contest the win as the final lap began.

Those were Belgium's Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert, Rui Costa of Portugal and last year's winner, Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski.

With so many strong riders in that final group, only a stunning attack could stop the rainbow jersey from going to the strongest sprinter left at the top of that last climb, and Sagan's move was fully worthy of the prize.

But while he may have been one of the favourites from that bunch for an eventual sprint, his attack removed any chance of a blanket finish from the equation.

There was still work to do once he crested that final climb alone, however, and crouching low in an aero position over the top tube, he minimised any chance of his rivals getting back across to him.

"Today I was just waiting and waiting," said Sagan after his victory." I had my brother with me and my teammates were always with me.

"If something happened they where always there. It was a little bit crazy during the last laps, and I thought everyone had to be tired. I gave everything on last cobblestone climb and then it was full gas until the finish.

"I knew that if the group caught me, I was very tired for the sprint but it was the right attack for me.

"I saw also a lot of comments from people that I am not good for a long race like this. But now I have this jersey and I’ll keep for a full year."

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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