Valverde sprints to victory to win road world title

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‘Road to hell’ – Valverde world champion after monstrous climb in road race

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde edged a sprint finish to win the men’s race at the Road World Championships.

Valverde finished just ahead of France’s Romain Bardet, Canada’s Michael Woods and Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands in Innsbruck, Austria.

The 38-year-old had previously finished on the podium a record six times.

Peter Kennaugh finished 16th for Great Britain and Adam Yates 37th, but Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates did not finish.

Valverde, Bardet and Woods raced the final few kilometres of the 258-kilometre mountainous route together, before being joined by Dumoulin going into the final kilometre.

Valverde, who served a two-year doping ban earlier in his career over his involvement in the Operation Puerto scandal, led the final sprint for the line and remained unchallenged to beat Bardet by just over a bike length, with Woods third.

“It’s incredible, after missing it for so many years. It’s a victory for the team,” said Valverde, who had twice finished second, with four third place finishes, at the World Championships.

Commenting on a challenging day for the British riders, Kennaugh said: “That was way harder than expected. It was just raced full gas from the start, even the break took long to go for a World Championships, and then the pace was just really hard for every lap on the climb.

“Unfortunately Simon wasn’t feeling great, so we did what we could. It’s hard without radios to know who is where.

“I was following moves with two to go with the plan we had, but I didn’t know Simon had stopped. In hindsight, I would have just waited, but that’s racing.”

Results

1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) 6hrs 46mins 41secs

2. Romain Bardet (Fra) Same time

3. Michael Woods (Can)

4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned)

5. Gianni Moscon (Ita) + 13secs

6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) + 43secs

7. Michael Valgren (Den) Same time

8. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra)

9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra)

10. Rui Costa (Por)

Selected others:

16. Peter Kennaugh + 1min 21secs

37. Adam Yates + 4mins

DNF. Simon Yates

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/45699992

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