The men’s road race at the European Championships ended in an uphill sprint Sunday, but you might not be able to tell from the finish line photo. A dominant Peter Sagan was able to soft-pedal the final 20 meters assured of a no-doubt win and still finished more than a bike length ahead of the rest of the field.
The hilly 236-kilometer race through Plumelec in France’s Brittany region saw a number of attacks throughout the afternoon. Estonia’s Risto Raid, Ukraine’s Andrii Bratashchuk, Switzerland’s Pirimin Lang, and the Netherlands’ Bert-Jan Lindeman formed the main early breakaway, opening up an advantage that topped out at more than 11 minutes. A hungry peloton gradually reeled in the move in the second half of the race, however, setting up a string attempted escapes.
The most dangerous of those came from Italy’s Moreno Moser. He jumped clear with just under 15km to go and held out solo until he was swept up in the final 1,500 meters. His teammate Davide Villella then tried to find some space of his own off the front, but the pack would not be denied a group finish on the uphill run to the line.
Spain’s Daniel Moreno led the peloton into the finishing straight but Sagan exploded out of the bunch with 200 meters to go and no one came close to latching onto his wheel. The Slovakian took a clear victory ahead of France’s Julian Alaphilippe, with Moreno settling for third.