Just as Peter Sagan crossed the line in Doha yesterday knowing he had successful retained his Rainbow Jersey the frustration on Mark Cavendish’s face was evident to see as the Manx missile missed out on what would have been a stunning victory.
The bouncing of the bike just as he crossed the line in second place was indication that if he had chosen the right path to the line, Cavendish would have been celebrating a second World Championship victory. But after getting caught behind Australia’s Michael Matthews for a split second the dream was over, as Sagan took home the Gold.
2011 was the last time Cavendish tasted victory at the Worlds, and on another day it might have ended in glory for 31-year-old. But the Dimension-Data rider can take heart in what he has achieved this year. At the beginning of the season he set out three targets: win the Yellow Jersey, win Gold at the Olympics, and then win the Rainbow Jersey in Doha.
He won the Maillot Jaune in July, and although he didn’t get Gold in Rio he still came away with silver, so all-in-all it hasn’t been a bad year for Cavendish.
Crosswinds decimated 195 strong peloton
It was a superb spectacle in the desserts of Qatar yesterday; the race was always going to be a bunch sprint, but I don’t think nobody quite expected how much damage the crosswinds would do to the peloton.
The decisive move came from the Belgians, and as some as they had a sniff of crosswinds they went to front and completely tore the race to pieces.
Most of GB’s riders were caught out, but Adam Blythe and Cavendish managed to squeeze themselves in the top group, but the likes of Luke Rowe, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, and Steve Cummings all missed the split.
Disappointed Cavendish feels like he ‘lost’ Gold
The conditions were far from ideal; but when it came to the decisive end of the race, it was the cool and calm Sagan that made the right decision to add yet another impressive victory to his palmares.
But speaking after the race, Cavendish said he wanted to be on Sagan’s ‘wheel’ in the finale, he was but when it came for him to jump he found his route blocked by Matthews who was also sprinting for the line.
After having to stop pedalling for a slight second, it was too late for Cavendish to make the ground up on Sagan, he did on Tom Boonen but he had to settle for second.
"I'm a little bit disappointed. I feel like I lost gold rather than I won silver. That's how it is, you know," admitted a sombre Cavendish.