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Philippe Gilbert of Belgium claimed the World Road Race title with a devastating late burst over the top of the Cauberg climb and into the finish. Sky's Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen claimed the silver from Alejandro Valverde of Spain.
Meanwhile, Great Britain's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke rode a remarkable race on his debut at the senior world championships, claiming 19th place after being in most of the significant moves of the second half of the race and making it to the final climb in the front group. Ian Stannard shielded Tiernan Locke in the run into that last climb having himself been away in a two rider break on the penultimate lap.
It capped a good day for the GB team who rode with clear purpose and had riders involved in most of the main moves. Mark Cavendish spent his last day as World Champion policing the front of the peloton for much of the first half of the race, helping to prevent early breaks from gaining any traction. When he retired, with the race well into its final 10 laps for the finishing circuit, he was given an appreciative ovation from crowds all round the course as he cruised in for a well-earned rest.
Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome also shouldered some of the early work before they too, understandably, headed for the showers in the Team Sky bus as the race entered its closing stages.
Of the other GB riders, Steve Cummings found himself in a quality break which dominated much of the second half of the race and the tall BMC rider stayed at the forefront of the action up to the last lap.
Luke Rowe, Ben Swift and Ian Stannard shouldered much of the burden of helping Tiernan-Locke in the closing laps. Stannard's late bid for glory, with Americn rider Andrew Talansky - the pair breaking free on the penultimate climb of the Bemeleberg - although ultimately unsuccessful, showed again what a powerful rider he is and, even when reeled back in, he had the energy to pilot Tiernan-Locke to the foot of the final ascent of the Cauberg.
Tiernan-Locke's ride was all the more remarkable given his lack of experience at this level and over these sorts of distances. He marked a move by Alberto Contador which enabled him to slip into a good move which involved over twenty of the races leading riders. Even in such exalted company he looked comfortable and he showed a commendable ability to follow a script, but also the physical strength and talent to compete at the highest level.
He then stayed with the front of the race when everything came back together on the final lap and was still able to keep himself in contention until the last couple of minutes of the race. Even then he finished only a handful of seconds down on the winner.
1 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) 6:10:41
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) 0:00:04
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spain) 0:00:05
4 John Degenkolb (Germany)
5 Lars Boom (Netherlands)
6 Allan Davis (Australia)
7 Thomas Voeckler (France
8 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)
9 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Colombia)
10 Oscar Freire (Spain)
19 Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB) @ 5s
36 Ian Stannard (GB) @ 53s
60 Ben Swift (GB) @ 2.21
70 Steve Cummings @ 2.21
88 Luke Rowe (GB) @ 5.46