Sensational Sagan storms to third successive World crown

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Peter Sagan finished a dramatic 2017 back at the top as he became the first man to win the UCI Road World Championship road race three years in a row.

Sagan's season was dealt a massive blow at the Tour de France when he was thrown after a clash with Mark Cavendish, but he responded with a perfectly-timed sprint finish to beat home hope Alexander Kristoff to gold in Bergen, with Michael Matthews taking bronze.

The Slovakian - who was ill in the lead up to the race - kept a low profile throughout a gruelling six hours in the saddle and looked to be out of the running.

However, after the peloton came together in the last kilometre, Sagan showed his sprinting prowess to take the win in a photo finish.

Julian Alaphilippe looked as though he was going to be a first French champion since 1997 as he broke clear with two kilometres to race, but he was reeled in by the peloton and the jostling for position began.

Kristoff made the first break for the line but Sagan remained on the Norwegian's wheel before diving in front to secure his record triumph.

Matthews - who won the points jersey at the Tour in Sagan's absence - followed Kristoff over the line to complete the top three.

After 10 riders made the early breakaway it was cut to six as the laps of Bergen began. A new quartet promptly took over but after 240km the peloton was back together.

Alaphilippe looked to stretch things out with a break that only Gianni Moscron could live with, and when the Frenchman pushed for a second time he was out on his own.

It proved costly, though, as he quickly ran out of steam and a bunch finish loomed.

Despite hardly featuring and being 80th up the final climb, Sagan showed his quality to move into a promising position before denying Bergen a home champion.

Kristoff would have been a hugely popular winner but it was Sagan celebrating a title that also sees him become on the fifth man to win three world titles.

"It was unbelievable," said Sagan. "I'm very happy to win again, it is unbelievable for me, something special for sure.

"It just happened in seconds, you could not have predicted that!"

RACE RESULT

1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) 6:28:11
2. Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
3. Michael Matthews (Australia)
4. Matteo Trentin (Italy)
5. Ben Swift (Great Britain)