Peter Sagan takes rainbow jersey with photo-finish win in Bergen

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"I also want to dedicate this victory to my wife", said Sagan, who earlier announced that his wife was expecting a child. "It's a very nice end of the season, and I'm very happy". "I wouldn't attack so many times on the final climb", Matthews said.

"I was watching the race from the back and said: 'OK, we go for third, fourth, fifth place.' I was not thinking about the title then", Sagan said.

Alexander Kristoff raised the prospect of a home world champion, with the Norwegian launching the acceleration toward the finish.

It seemed that France's Julian Alaphilippe and Italian Gianni Moscon would fight it out for gold when both jumped away from the leading group 11km from the line on the ascent to Salmon Hill, a 1.4-km effort at an average gradient of 6.4 per cent.

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As the video, above, shows the riders knew who had won as Kristoff congratulated Sagan but we had to wait a couple of minutes while the commissaires had a look at the photo.

"It was close, I did my maximum, I must be happy with the result but for sure I'm disappointed".

Sagan's victory in some way helped make up for the disappointment of being kicked off July's Tour de France after elbowing sprint rival Mark Cavendish during a hectic finish to stage four. The bunch was still too big and I wasted energy from doing that. "It's not easy to beat him", said Kristoff.

"I won twice (before), I'm here for the world championships".

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It was Sagan's third straight win as he once again rode off with the prestigious rainbow jersey.

"Maybe every time that happens something bad in your life it's for something good - you have to see that always in an optimistic way".

And that meant when Blaak attacked there was little chance of a co-ordinated chase from behind, allowing the Dutch national champion to power to victory. "I only finished college a year ago so this is all new to me and having Conor up there with me today was brilliant".

As the laps of the finishing circuit ticked down, however, that was soon reduced and it was another more dangerous-looking breakaway which the peloton was forced to chase down in the final three-and-a-half laps. Another eight-man group with big-hitters including Dutchman Lars Boom and Tim Wellens of Belgium got clear but could never stretch their lead much beyond 30-seconds and they were brought back with 25km to go. By the time they came into the view of stationary cameras in the final kilometre, Alaphilippe had been caught and a sprint finish was a certainty.

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