Doha, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan won an action packed World Championship road race yesterday winning a reduced bunch sprint ahead of two former World Champions. Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish was second with Belgium’s Tom Boonen third.

Peter Sagan became the first rider since Paolo Bettini in 2007 to successfully defend his title and join only five other riders since 1927 to win back to back World Championship road race titles.

The 257km race was blown apart by the strong Belgian team as the crosswinds picked up 80km into the race forcing a race winning split of a strong 30 rider group pulling back the early break. Belgium had six riders in the group including Boonen and Greg Van Avermaet, Australia had Michael Matthews, Mathew Hayman and initially Luke Durbridge until he had a mechanical problem then got hit from behind by another rider. Norway had Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff while Great Britain had Mark Cavendish and Adam Blythe.

The group pulled out a two minute lead on the Pearl circuit as the chase that included big names Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Nacer Bouhanni and Caleb Ewan was continually being disrupted by the remaining Belgian riders.

With 5 km remaining Netherland’s Niki Terpstra attacked the 21 rider strong lead bunch hoping for a solo win but was quickly shut down by Mathew Hayman, with 2.4 km to go Terpstra’s team mate Tom Leezer made a strong attack only getting caught with about 500 metres to go.

Rounding the final right hand turn Peter Sagan popped out from behind the lead riders squeezing between the far right barrier and Giacomo Nizzolo and sprinted for the line beating Cavendish who had gone to the left, and Tom Boonen.

There was a bit of a headwind so I felt I needed to come from the back. I felt I was lucky because Nizzolo didn’t close me out. If he closed me out for sure we would have crashed because I wasn’t going to brake. We should have crashed but I’m happy. It’s unbelievable. – Peter Sagan

Michael Matthews narrowly missed a podium spot finishing in fourth place.

Results of the 2016 World Championship Road Race

Place Rider (Country) Result
1 Peter Sagan (Slovakia) 5:40:43
2 Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)
3 Tom Boonen (Belgium)
4 Michael Matthews (Australia)
5 Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy)
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
7 Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
8 William Bonnet (France)
9 Niki Terpstra (Netherlands)
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
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Nathan Elliott wins the 2016 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic

Nathan Elliott winning the 2016 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic
Nathan Elliott winning the 2016 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic | Photo: Rob Gunstone

Nathan Elliot won a windy 2016 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic on Saturday from a small group of six riders that had been part of a near all day breakaway. Elliot launched a powerful attack with less than two kilometres to go to win by 2 seconds from Ayden Toovey with Robbie Hucker third place another 3 seconds back.

The 277km long Melbourne to Warrnambool race started at 7.30 on Saturday morning and it wasn’t long before attacks started to fly with riders wanting to be part of the early break, the break eventually stuck with a dozen or more riders including Pat Lane and Robbie Hucker from Avanti Isowhey Sport, Ayden Toovey (Subaru NSWIS & MS), Dan Fitter (State Of Matter / MAAP), Matt Clark (Satalyst Verve), Mathew Ross (Pat’s Veg) and of course Nathan Elliot who was entered as an individual rider.

With the strong teams represented in the break there was little incentive for the team riders in the peloton to chase but it was a little surprising they let the lead get out over 12-13 minutes before the crosswinds starting ripping the bunches to pieces. As the break turned for a tailwind stretch after the second sprint there was little chance they would be caught before the finish in Warrnambool.

In the final 100 km the break started dropping riders off and it was only Elliot, Hucker, Toovey, Grafton to Inverell winner Pat Lane, Mathew Ross and Dan Fitter remaining as they entered Raglan Parade, Warrnambool. Elliot attacked inside 2km to go to win the biggest race of his career.

Results of the 2016 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic

Place Rider (Team) Result
1 Nathan Elliott 6:38:55
2 Ayden Toovey (Subaru NSWIS & MS) +:02
3 Robbie Hucker (Avanti Isowhey Sports) +:05
4 Patrick Lane (Avanti Isowhey Sports) +:12
5 Mathew Ross (Pat’s Veg Cycling)
6 Daniel Fitter (State Of Matter / MAAP)
7 Stuart Shaw (Subaru NSWIS & MS) +3:35
8 Mark O’brien (Avanti Isowhey Sports) +3:37
9 Jesse Kerrison (State Of Matter / MAAP) +4:22
10 Tommy Nankervis (Team Detours)

Joe Cooper wins his second NRS Title and Avanti Isowhey Sports win seventh successive NRS Teams Title

Joe Cooper 2016 National Road Series Champion
Joe Cooper 2016 National Road Series Champion | Photo @summerofcycling

The 2016 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic doubled as the final round of the men’s National Road Series and after the penultimate Tour of Tasmania round it was Avanti Isowhey Sports Joseph Cooper that led the series on 48 points, holding a four point lead over team mate Patrick Shaw with another Avanti rider, Sam Crome third on 24 points.

In the NRS Teams title race Avanti Isowhey Sports already had their seventh successive teams title wrapped up, mobius Future Racing had second place secured leaving Subaru NSWIS & MS, SwissWellness Cycling Team and State of Matter / MAAP to decide third place overall.

Joe Cooper was a late withdrawal from the Melbourne to Warrnambool having sustained a back injury six days earlier after crashing during the final stage of the Tour of Tasmania, Cooper’s non-start meant Pat Shaw would need to win or finish second to overtake Cooper for the NRS title lead. Third place would have left the two tied on points with Cooper winning by way of three round wins.

Patrick Shaw finished 14th in his final NRS race before retiring meaning Joe Cooper won his second National Road Series title, having previously won the 2014 series. Patrick Lane’s 4th place meant Avanti Isowhey Sport took the top four positions in the individual title as well as winning the National Road Series Teams title.

Daniel Fitter and Jesse Kerrison’s top 10 Melbourne to Warrnambool placings meant State of Matter / MAAP held on for third place overall in the teams standings ahead of Subaru NSWIS & MS.

There were three key moments on the way to Cooper’s second NRS title, the first was the individual time trial win on day one of the Tour of the King Valley that set up the first of his three overall round wins, the second was winning the penultimate stage of the Tour of Gippsland which was the longest of the stage race stages for the season at 138km. Cooper won solo by over a minute to seal his second win.

The third was after winning the stage one ITT at the Round 5 National Capital Tour, Cooper managed to stay in touch with the climbers on the next days stage finishing at Black Mountain, conceding only 7 seconds to the stage winner and setting up the round win and series lead.

Cooper won three rounds of the reduced seven round NRS series with the others being won by Patrick Lane, Sam Crome, Ben Dyball and Nathan Elliott.

Final Individual 2016 National Road Series Standings

Rank Name Team Name Points
1 Joseph Cooper Avanti IsoWhey Sports 48
2 Patrick Shaw Avanti IsoWhey Sports 44
3 Sam Crome Avanti IsoWhey Sports 24
4 Patrick Lane Avanti IsoWhey Sports 22
5 Chris Harper Swiss Wellness Cycling Team 22
6 Ben Dyball mobius Future Racing 20
7 Robert Stannard mobius Future Racing 18
8 Dylan Sunderland State of Matter / MAAP 18
9 Angus Lyons Jayco/John West VIS 17
10 Alexander Porter SASI/Callidus Cycling Team 15

Final Teams 2016 National Road Series Standings

Rank Team Name Points
1 Avanti IsoWhey Sports 182
2 mobius Future Racing 60
3 State of Matter / MAAP 42
4 Subaru NSWIS & MS 40
5 SASI/Callidus Cycling Team 34
6 SwissWellness Cycling Team 32
7 Pat’s Veg Cycling 31
8 Jayco/John West VIS 22
9 Oliver’s Real Food Racing 13
10 JML Racing 13
11 Satalyst Verve Racing 12
12 AMR Renault Racing 12
Avanti IsoWhey Sports 2016 National Road Series Teams Champion
Avanti IsoWhey Sports 2016 National Road Series Teams Champions Photo @AvantiIsoWhey

Main image via ©SWPix / UCI

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