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Cycling: Slovakian Peter Sagan retains cycling road race world championship

Slovakia's Peter Sagan held off Briton Mark Cavendish in a frantic finale to retain the road race title at the cycling world championships in Doha. The win gave Sagan his second world title after Richmond 2015.

Sagan triumphed at the end of the 257.3-kilometre race narrowly in front of Cavendish with Tom Boonen of Belgium claiming third in a sprint finish.

"I am still in total shock, I am very, very happy," Sagan said straight after his victory, which was watched by only a handful of spectators under a scorching sun.

The 26-year-old is the first rider to retain the road race world title since Italy's Paolo Bettini in Germany in 2007.

Sagan rode a masterful race throughout and was able to squeeze an opening as the sprinters bunched towards the finish line.

It caps a fine season for the Slovak, who won the points classification at the Tour de France for the fifth consecutive year and the European Road Race championships only last month.

Many had predicted that the race, the final competition of the road world championships, would come down to a shootout between Sagan and Cavendish, and so it proved.

But the Briton, who won the event in 2011, appeared to be checked behind Australia's Michael Matthews as he made his final push towards the line.

idr/sb AFP