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Peter Sagan (Slovakia) – Gold, Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) – Silver, Tom Boonen (Belgium) – Bronze

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16 October 2016 – Doha, Qatar: Highlights of the press conference with gold medal winner Peter Sagan (Slovakia), silver medal winner Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) and bronze medal winner Tom Boonen (Belgium).

Peter Sagan (Slovakia) – gold

On all the debate before the race:
“Everybody is happy again. It’s unbelievable, I’m very happy also. I would like to thank everyone who supported me, my family, wife, the team, my brother, my teammate Michal Kolar, my friends from my town in Slovakia who came here. I think I have the biggest group of fans from Slovakia. They bring a lot of energy and things happen. It’s unbelievable for me.”277a

On how hard the race was:
First of all I am very happy, I was the last rider (to jump) in the first group, with the Belgian guys and the Italian guys. That was the first victory of the day and I just kept riding with them. Then maybe the German team came back from behind, but after that the Belgians with the Italians pulled very strong, and in the end I thought we will go for the sprint for sure. It was like a lottery. I started the sprint from the right side and was very lucky they did not close me, because it was very tight on the right side. Maybe it was destiny, because it’s not every day that I can win a sprint like this.”

On whether he has a message like last year:
“Why is everybody expecting messages? I don’t know.”

On Belgian tactics:
“No, I thought for that because there was a lot of different riders, I had also one guy with me, Michal Kolar. Cavendish had two, Norway had (Alexander) Kristoff and they were three. The Italians were also interested in the sprint. I told myself it’s stupid to attack. I played just one card, that was the sprint. I had nothing to lose and this happens. It’s very strange but I’m very happy.”

On arriving only three days before the race:
“OK it’s hot here, you suffer by that. You go training, it’s hot. I did already a lot this season. I thought, OK I’m gonna try train at home in Monaco and there’s also hot, not like this, but I could train five hours and relax. If you train here five-six hours you just finish yourself.

“When I came here the first day I was sleeping all day, and then I did three hours and I was already like it’s too much. And then the other day I did just one hour and today is the big day and it was a big day for me.”

On the course:
I think it was just one luck, there is no climb here. If you put cold water on yourself and then on the wheel you stay good. Of course for the Belgians and the Italians it was different. In the end nobody had too much energy to attack and making the race, because everybody was too hot.”

On beating Mark Cavendish:
For sure I’m very surprised, you never know in the sprint what will happen. In a sprint like this maybe two sprinters you can watch them, but there were a lot. Cavendish, Kristoff, Boonen, Nizzolo, Elia (Viviani) was pulling him. You have to choose. It’s always like lottery, you can crash, you just go and make your best and I did my best. I had nothing to lose today.”

On pressure before the race:
Why do you have to have pressure, I did already a lot this year. That’s it. I can just earn not lose. It was already a long season this year, I’m happy for how was this day. I’m also very happy that it’s the end of the season. It was long and now I need to rest.”

On which song he had in his head during the race:
“Every time when we go out for the race, also in the European Championships and here we always put on Star Wars: too too too too (sings).“

On what will be different next season in a German team:
“Sure the brand is different, but the colour (the rainbow jersey) will be the same. We will see. After this I go directly to Abu Dhabi for the UCI Gala and then to Germany for first meeting with the new team. We still have to pedal on the bike, I stay in the same sport.”

On making it look easy:
It’s not easy, never the victory can be easy. It’s very difficult. I already said in Flanders and last year a lot of things have to come together to make things possible, a lot of luck but also good shape. Today if there would have been a lot climbs, I would not have been here. It’s not easy, I’m very happy with what I do and did in my career until now, and we will see what’s going to happen in future.”

Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) – silver

On the final sprint:
“I was just behind a wall of riders. I was on Sagan’s wheel. I saw in other races if you got on the right-hand side, you got squashed on the right-hand side, so I wanted to go back. I tried to find a way, I had to really just stop pedalling to come on the other side of Michael Matthews, and this was with less than a hundred metres to go, so it was too late to come back. I managed to come back on Tom Boonen, but not on Sagan. It‘s frustrating because, when I’m not good enough and when it’s physically not my speed and I haven’t got it, that was not today. I saw that I was faster than the others in the final. Yeah I made a mistake, and that’s going to eat at me for a long time.”

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On his position at decisive moments in race:
“I was second in that corner where it split behind Luke Rowe. Actually it wasn’t only Adam (Blythe) and me (in the first echelon), but also Luke Row, but he unfortunately punctured. With the team, with the head wind, we controlled it.

“For us it did not matter whether it was a big group, I can win from both, so we knew we had to be there, so that we did not have to pull behind and we did not age to pull up front.”

On Belgian tactics:
“At the end of the day they did what they had to do. With a smaller group they had a bigger chance to win than with a bigger group. For me and Sagan it doesn’t matter whether it’s big or a small group.”

On how hard it was to come back to the road after the track at the Olympic Games:

“It wasn’t easy but it was doable, I went straight back training again. It’s my job. I have a job with Dimension Data. Hardest thing, I was being sick three weeks ago. I was actually surprised with how good I felt today. In the end of the day it’s my job to ride.”

Tom Boonen (Belgium) – bronze

On Belgian race tactics:
“We took responsibility. We did what we planned, to make the race hard from 75 kilometres to 125 and then the lock went on the race for hundred kilometres. The race was too long, for spectators and everyone. But I was happy with the result in the end. We actually came one guy short. The way the sprint went, I think we did maximum.”

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On whether the Leezer attack affected the race result:
Every attack in the race influences the result. The result of the race is the sum of every at you. Tom (Leezer) did a great effort. He’s a young guy and nobody really expected it. Jurgen (Roelandts) came in the lead way to early. We had to go full from 800 metres, and then I had to wait for the other guys to get passed me and start sprinting again. And then it’s very hard.”

On tactics in the final:
“We had two tactics. Greg (Van Avermaet) would cover the attacks from Niki (Terpstra) and all others, and I would stay with the fast guys for the sprint. Jurgen did a superb job, he’s a super strong lad. But in the end, it is what it is, can’t change it anymore.”

On whether Sagan is beatable:
Of course. He’s won a few races but not everything. Everybody is beatable.”