Peter Sagan wins gold at Road Cycling World Championships

Slovakia's Peter Sagan won gold in the men's elite race at the Road Cycling World Championships in Richmond, Virginia after an attack with 3km left.

The 25-year-old made his move on the penultimate climb of the 261.4km (162.4 mile) course and held on.

Michael Matthews from Australia was second with Lithuania's Ramunas Navardauskas third.

Britain's Ian Stannard led with 35km left but was caught, and Ben Swift finished as the leading Briton in 22nd.

Sagan, a four-time stage winner at the Tour de France, completed the course in six hours 14 minutes and 37 seconds and said it was the biggest win of his career.

"I think it's the biggest victory, and I'm very happy because I had a lot of sacrifice for last three weeks after the Vuelta [a Espana] and it's unbelievable for me," said Sagan, who held off a high-quality chasing pack and still had enough of a gap to celebrate as he crossed the line.

The victory caps a great year for the popular Slovak, who also won a fourth straight green jersey for the points classification at the Tour de France and the overall title at the Tour of California, but it also answers those who have criticised him for not winning enough races, given his all-round talents.

Sagan was riding in national colours in Richmond but his trade team boss Oleg Tinkov was delighted for the man he has sometimes questioned for finishing second too often.

"Peter is the beast! Cycling without him would be different!" said Tinkov, who pays Sagan a reported £2.9m a year to ride for his Tinkoff-Saxo team.