Crosswinds in the desert blow the riace apart with 175km remaining

Peter Sagan of Slovakia has retained the rainbow jersey after outsprinting Mark Cavendish to the line in Doha from a select group that had formed after the race was blown apart by crosswinds in the desert. Tom Boonen of Belgium, who had predicted that the wind could be decisive and who had five team mates in the front group, was third.

The split came with around 175 kilometres left of the 257.5 kilometre race, Belgium seemingly executing their game plan to perfection by getting six men into the first echelon, who slowly reeled in the early break ahead of them on the road.

Also present were defending champion Sagan, the British pair of Cavendish and Adam Blyth, and others with their eyes on the rainbow jersey including Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands, Norway's Alexander Kristoff and Australia's Michael Matthews.

Missing out, however, were the German trio of Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel and Tony Martin, and with the Belgians pushing the pace in the front group, any chance of getting back on had evaporated long before the end.

Some 25 or so riders were left in the front group as the entered the final circuit, and with a little over 2 kilometres left, Tom Leezer of the Netherlands chanced his arm.

Inside the final few hundred metres, it was touch and go whether he would hold on, but he was caught with the line in sight as the three men vying to add a second road world championships win to their palmares went head to head.



Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.