Alejandro Valverde is second oldest male road cycling world champion

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INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) — Alejandro Valverde sprinted to gold in the men’s road race at the world championships on Sunday.

The Spanish rider was the fastest of a leading group of four, with Romain Bardet of France taking the silver and Michael Woods of Canada the bronze, while Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands placed fourth.

It was the 38-year-old Valverde’s first world title, after finishing runner-up in 2003 and 2005 and coming third four times.

The only older man to win a world title in the road race or time trial was Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk in 1985, according to Procyclingstats.com.

Defending champion Peter Sagan had his three-year winning streak snapped when he quit the race with 90 kilometers left. The Slovakian sprint specialist struggled on the 258-kilometer course, which included 4,681 meters of climbing and was regarded as one of the toughest world championship courses in decades.

Full results are here.

The 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium both fell back on a late climb.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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