Cavendish sprints to world title

Sun, 25 Sep 16:46:00 2011

Britain's Mark Cavendish won the men's world championship road race in Denmark.

New world champion Mark Cavendish of Britain, left, celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of silver medallist Matthew Goss of Australia, right in white shirt, to win the elite men road race over 266 kilometers (165.3 miles) with start in Copenhag - 0

The flat course in Copenhagen looked perfect for the 26-year-old and so it proved as he beat Australian Matt Goss to the line in a sprint finish at the end of the 260km route.

Germany's Andre Griepel pipped Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) for the bronze medal.

Cavendish becomes only the second British rider to become men's world road race champion after Tom Simpson in 1965.

And the HTC-Highroad rider was quick to pay homage to his team-mates after adding the rainbow jersey to a palmares that already includes 20 Tour de France stage wins and the green jersey this year.

"There couldn't be another result after the way the guys rode today. I'm so so proud," Cavendish told Eurosport.

"Hopefully we can make the double with this title and the Olympics next year."

The British team worked relentlessly to pull back a series of attacks as the peloton tackled 17 laps of the 14km circuit.

A seven-man break formed on the opening lap which featured France's Anthony Roux, Maxim Iglinksy (Kazakhstan), Pablo Lastras (Spain), Christian Poos (Luxembourg), Tanai Kangert (Estonia), Oleg Chuzda (Ukraine) and Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia).

Men's road race

They built up a lead of eight minutes before Britain, with Vuelta a Espana runner-up Chris Froome at the fore, reduced the deficit.

The original escape was joined by a counter-attack featuring Yoann Offredo (France), Olivier Kaisen and Johan Van Summeren (Belgium), Luca Paolini (Italy) and Simon Clarke (Australia) with five laps to go.

And by that point the chances of defending champion Thor Hushovd had vanished after he was delayed by a crash that also involved Tour de France podium finisher Frank Schleck of Luxembourg.

With 30km remaining, Roux attacked his fellow escapees, that had lost Poos and Kangert by that point, but he was caught and passed by team-mate Thomas Voeckler on the penultimate lap as Britain continued to set the tempo on the front of the peloton.

Tour de France hero Voeckler was joined by home favourite Nicki Sorensen and Belgium's Klaas Lodewyck before Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland bridged the gap to the leaders on the final lap.

But double Olympic individual pursuit gold medallist Bradley Wiggins did a heroic turn on the front to quash their 18 second lead and set up the sprint finish that many expected.

Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas worked tirelessly to get Cavendish into position for the uphill drag to the line but it was Australia who looked in pole position as Heinrich Haussler lead out Goss.

But Cavendish burst up the inside to pip the Tasmanian, who was gaining ground, to a historic gold - Britain's first in 46 years.

Germany was awarded the bronze with Greipel edging dethroned time trial champion Cancellara in a photo finish.

Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium), Romain Feillu (France), Borut Bozic (Slovenia) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) were next over the line but it was Cavendish and Britain's day in the sun.

Lee Walker - follow me on Twitter @leewal498 / Eurosport

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