Mark Cavendish becomes the first male British Road Cycling World Champion, since Tom Simpson did it in 1965, after a tense sprint to the line.
Cavendish already has two Madison World Championship titles and came in to this year’s event as one of the clear favourites. There were some tense moments as his lead out men Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard looked frantically around for the Manxman. Thomas has to drop down the field, as they were heading around the final corner, to find him, but the Welshman delivered him to the front on time.
The Manx express then had to do the work for himself, with none of his teammates around; he clung to the back wheels of his rivals. He finally launched his attack with around 200 metres to go and beat his, soon to be former, trade team teammate Matt Goss, by half a bike length. With the demise of HTC Goss will be moving to Green Edge and is looking to make his mark on the sprinting world. The Aussie got a good lead out from, his German-born, teammate Heinrich Haussler, but he couldn’t quite manage to stay ahead of Cav.
Fabian Cancellara missed out on his second bronze of the championships, as he was pipped by Andre Greipel to the final podium spot. Last year’s champion Thor Hushovd couldn’t do a repeat of his sprint finish, after he was caught up in a crash on the final lap. Hushovd lost over two minutes in the crash and he couldn’t bridge the gap, before the end of the race. Also caught up in the crash was Frank Schleck, which ended his title ambitions.
The Norwegian’s teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen could only managed eight; he probably would have hoped for a bigger hill. Ahead of Boasson Hagen was Jurgen Roelandts, Romain Feillu and Borut Bozic, in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Unlike the Women’s race, the men really made an attempt for a breakaway right from the off. It took until they had completed a lap of the city before a seven man breakaway stuck. Pablo Lastras was one of those men in the lead group and clearly hoped he could do a repeat of his Vuelta stage victory, where he got in to the day’s successful breakaway. It was the British team who did most of the work to bring the leaders back, with Bradley Wiggins almost turning himself inside out to get them back. A few late attempts at a breakaway failed to work and it was all brought back together with 7km left to go.