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Peter Sagan wins the road world championship for the third time in a row

Unprecedented hat-trick for Slovak star as he edges out Norway's Alexander Kristoff in Bergen...

Peter Sagan of Slovakia has won the UCI road world championship for an unprecedented third year in a row, just edging out Norway's Alexander Kristoff in a thrilling sprint finish in Bergen.

Sagan is the fifth man to win the title three times, and at the age of 27 few would bet against him becoming the first rider to win the rainbow jersey in the event four times.

The other three-time winners are Italy's Alfredo Binda (1927, 1930 and 1932), Rik Van Steenbergen of Belgium (1949, 1956 and 1957) and his compatriot Eddy Merckx (1967, 1971 and 1974) and Spain's Oscar Freire (1999, 2001 and 2004).

By beating Kristoff to the line by less than half a wheel's width, he denied Kristoff the distinction of being the first rider to win the title on home soil since Italy's Alessandro Ballan in Varese in 2008.

Australia's Michael Matthews finished third from a select group that had reeled in escapees Julien Alaphilippe of France and Italy's Gianni Moscon in the closing kilometres after the pair had attacked on the 12th and final climb of Salmon Hilll.

Also contesting the finish at the conclusion of the 267.5-kilometre were Italy's Matteo Trentin, fourth, and Great Britain's Ben Swift, who was fifth.

Sagan dedicated  his victory to Michele Scarponi, the Italian rider who lost his life earlier this year in a collision involving a van.

The three-time world champion told BBC Sport: "It was not easy, guys were changing in the front all the time," Sagan told the BBC.

"I tried to go with the breakaay and it came down to a sprint, it was unbelievable.

"Kristoff was racing at home so I'm sorry, but of course I'm happy to win.

He said his historic hat-trick "is something special for sure. For me it's something very nice."

Swift said: "Sagan was incredible, I think all of us were trying a couple of moves because it was all over the place, but he did amazing.

"The team was brilliant today, we set out what we wanted to do and everyone rode brilliantly."

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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