Pedersen claims World Championship gold in thrilling sprint finish

Omnisport
Matteo Trentin made a late move in the UCI World Championship men's road race, but it was Mads Pedersen who triumphed in Yorkshire.
Matteo Trentin made a late move in the UCI World Championship men's road race, but it was Mads Pedersen who triumphed in Yorkshire.

Mads Pedersen clinched the UCI World Championship title in stunning fashion with a scintillating sprint finish at the culmination of a gruelling men's elite road race.

With favourites such as Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphilippe and Alejandro Valverde having fallen off the pace throughout a shortened 262km route due to adverse weather, it was youngster Pedersen who triumphed against the odds in Harrogate.

Matteo Trentin looked in prime position with 200m to go, but made his move too early, with Pedersen jumping straight onto his rivals' wheel before bursting off to secure a first-ever road race gold for a Danish rider.  

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Trentin followed in second with Stefan Kung completing the podium - three-time champion Sagan, who had made a late push off the front of the peloton, coming over in fifth after Gianni Moscon, who dropped off the leading pack with six kilometres remaining.

"Unbelievable! We didn't expect this when we started this morning. At first [the aim] was to survive, survive, survive," the 23-year-old Pedersen told BBC Sport.

"When I saw the finish line I hoped the pain would be gone and I could do a good sprint. After six-and-a-half hours on the bike there is not much left.

"You have to be focused and stay in front. Don't get any bad luck. It's every rider's dream to wear that jersey. For me to do it now is unbelievable."

Defending champion Valverde abandoned the race with more than 50km remaining, telling Spanish media: "It's a world championship for mad men."

Another favourite cracked with 12km to go, Mathieu van der Poel finally deciding he could no longer keep pace with the lead group, which was soon trimmed to four when Moscon gave up his chance for a medal. 

Tao Geoghegan Hart came in as the leading British rider, finishing 26th, while Geraint Thomas finished far out of contention in Yorkshire.

What to read next