Bergen - Australia's Michael Matthews was left ruing a
tactical blunder as he had to settle for bronze at the world road race
championships won for the third year in a row by Peter Sagan.
Matthews was unable to challenge Sagan and silver-medallist
Alexander Kristoff in the sprint finish to the 267.5km race in Bergen on Sunday
and afterwards admitted he'd made a mistake on the final of 12 laps around the
There was a climb around 15km from the finish where
Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe and Gianni Moscon of Italy escaped but both were
caught before the finish.
Matthews had also tried to attack on that climb and he said
he later paid for those efforts.
"What I would change (is) I wouldn't attack so many
times on the final climb," said the 26-year-old, known as 'Bling' for his
"I didn't know it would come down to such a huge bunch
sprint. I think I wasted a lot of energy.
"I was trying to go with moves and attacking myself; if
I could take something back I think I would sit back with these guys (Sagan and
Kristoff) and cruise up the climb."
When it came to the sprint finale, Kristoff launched his
first but Sagan was ideally placed on his wheel and just had enough strength
and speed to inch past the Norwegian and snatch victory in a photo finish.
"Unfortunately I was just not fast enough to keep him
behind me," said Kristoff.
"It was close, I did my maximum, I must be happy with
the result but for sure I'm disappointed.
"When you see who won it's not easy to beat him, he won
a lot of big races and races typically like this.
"I don't really know how I could have done anything
more - I did a good sprint, I was not going slower at the end.
"Maybe he was just a little fresher and faster at the
Sagan's victory in some way helped make up for the
disappointment of being kicked off July's Tour de France after elbowing sprint
rival Mark Cavendish during a hectic finish to stage four.
It meant he missed out on winning a sixth straight green
jersey - which Matthews took - but Sagan said he'd long made his peace with
"The Tour de France was never in my mind, it was not
happy for me but I was racing the world championships today - it's
different," said the Slovak.
"I won twice (before), I'm here for the world
"Maybe every time that happens something bad in your
life it's for something good - you have to see that always in an optimistic
Sagan admitted that when Alaphilippe attacked, he thought his
chances were over.
"I was watching the race from the back and I said 'ok
we go for third, fourth or fifth place," said Sagan.
"For sure I didn't think any more for the title.
"We (only) realised in the group in the last kilometre
(that) we (would) catch Alaphilippe."
The Frenchman had found himself alone in the lead 4.5km from
the finish but he couldn't hold on.
"I believed, I gave everything I had," said
Alaphilippe, who finished 10th. "I really wanted it, I had the legs but
that's the way it goes."