Julian Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman to win a road cycling world title in 23 years, attacking late and holding on to prevail by 24 seconds in Imola, Italy, on Sunday.
Alaphilippe, who wore the Tour de France yellow jersey for 16 stages between the last two years, went clear from a star-filled group at the top of the last climb with about eight miles left of a 160-mile day.
“It was a dream of my career, you know,” said Alaphilippe, whose best previous worlds finish was eighth. “I came here with, for sure, a lot of ambition. It’s just a dream day for me.”
Belgian Wout van Aert took silver, followed by Swiss Marc Hirschi in a five-man bunch sprint for the last two medals. Van Aert also earned silver in the time trial on Friday.
Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who was second in the Tour de France, finished sixth in the same time as the silver and bronze medalists after more than six and a half hours of racing.
The top American was Sepp Kuss in 52nd place, 12:35 behind.
The last Frenchmen to win world titles were Laurent Brochard (road race) and Laurent Jalabert (time trial) in 1997.
Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who won the Tour de France last Sunday, attacked with 26 miles left. He led by as much as 25 seconds before being reeled back in with about 13 miles to go.
The cycling season continues with the last two Grand Tours, each starting later than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Giro d’Italia begins Oct. 3, and the Vuelta a Espana starts Oct. 20, before the Giro finishes.
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