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"Disappointed" Cavendish reflects on world championships 2nd place

"I messed up tactically," says British rider after Peter Sagan edged him out...

Mark Cavendish says he is "disappointed" at missing out on a second road world championships victory in Doha today after finishing second to defending champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia.

The British rider, whose previous road world title came in Copenhagen in 2011, was bidding to be the first man ever to win rainbow jerseys on the track and the road in the same year, having won the Madison with Sir Bradley Wiggins at the track world championships at the Lea Valley VeloPark in March.

He helped create the decisive move of today's race by taking advantage of a crosswind with 175 kilometres still to ride, and slugged it out for the win with Sagan, with Belgium's Tom Boonen third - all three men seeking the second road world title of their career.

But in a hard fought finale Cavendish had to check his pace as he got caught briefly behind Australia's Michael Matthews, while Sagan later admitted that he had risked crashing with Giacomo Nizzolo by going through a gap between the Italian and the barriers.

Cavendish told BBC Sport: "I am just disappointed I messed up tactically,.

"I came with so much speed and power. I wanted to be on Peter's wheel.

"I knew the Norwegians [Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff] would hit out early into the headwind and I knew Sagan would just get the right wheel and I could float off him.

"I told Adam [Blythe] to come with a few hundred metres to go and when he came alongside, it spread everyone and everyone jumped and I had nowhere to go.

"The hard thing was losing Luke Rowe to a puncture which would have given us three in the front and he would have been valuable at the end. I am just going to have to settle for another second this year," added Cavendish, whose other big goal for 2016, the Omnium at the Rio Olympics, ended with him taking the silver medal behind Italy's Elia Viviani.

Sagan, the first man to retain the world title since Italy's Paolo Bettini in 2007, and only the sixth rider ever to do so, said afterwards: “I'm very happy because there was a crosswind and I was the last one to make the first group.

“In the end, it came down to a bunch sprint. 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,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Beecho | 7 years ago

I just wish each country would wear more distinctive colours. Trying to explain to the missus who was who and where they were had me watching the finish about a foot from the screen using a biro as a pointer.

Simmo72 | 7 years ago

Tactical error by GB.  Simple rule.  If there is a likelhood of cross winds let the belgiums do all the work and follow like a hawk.  I had it for 1)Sagan2)Boonen3)Cav so close but no cigar from the bookies.

Looked like an utter yawn fest until 180km to go, then it became a echelon based team time trial yawn fest.  What a souless,dull, boring circuit.   I assume you don't get many landscape artists in Qatar.

BikeBud | 7 years ago

"I messed up tactically," says British rider after Peter Sagan edged him out...

Edged him out?  There was plenty of clear space between Sagan's back wheel & Cavendish's front!  To be fair, Cav did well to get 2nd after his screw-up with positioning.  

bobbinogs | 7 years ago
1 like

Can't see how Cav can get any flak for that.  If you look at the comments from Kristoff after the race it is quite clear that he blames EBH for failing to lead him out as the reason why neither of them got on the podium (they both sprinted against each other rather than work together in the 100m where it would have made a difference).  I guess that is always a problem for the Worlds though as they work on the premise that a rider is prepared to sacrifice his chance of glory for a fellow countryman...who he might not like, considers is in inferior form/class or some other subjective reason (yes, Alejandro, you can take your pick from this list and explain it to Purito some day).  


Great race though, funny how everyone I know (including me) has been scathing about the shamelessly financially driven decision to award the WC to Doha and then it turns out to be anything but the 250km yawnfest that it promised to be on paper.

mrml | 7 years ago
1 like

Eh? When Cav moved around Matthews the Norwegians were already going backwards! 

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