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Kwiatkowski could deny Sagan hat-trick

Slovakian going for three in a row

Peter Sagan (left) and Julian Alaphilippe sprint for the line
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Men's road race
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Four men have won the world road-race championship title on three occasions but none have ever achieved the hat-trick in consecutive years.

That is the aim for superstar Slovakian Peter Sagan in Bergen on Sunday and bookmakers clearly think the two-time reigning champion has a fantastic opportunity to create history.

Sagan, whose Tour de France was cut short when disqualified for his part in a crash which left Mark Cavendish with a broken shoulder blade, is 11-4 favourite to supplement his victories in Richmond, Virginia and Doha.

If he completes a historic treble, it will undoubtedly be on the hardest course of the three. 

After a rolling 40km intro, the riders will tackle a circuit containing 4.7km of climbing 12 times. The race should become more and more attritional towards the finish.

It's a course Sagan should relish, being a classics specialist, but it is far from a foregone conclusion that he will retain the rainbow jersey.

Greg van Avermaet, star of the spring classics, will fancy his chances as will home hope Edvald Boasson Hagen and Aussie Michael Matthews, who benefited from Sagan's Tour expulsion to claim the green jersey.

However, none have shown the recent form that 2014 world champion Michal Kwiatkowski has.

Winner of Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Classica San Sebastian, the Pole has been arguably the best all-round rider in the peloton this season.

When not riding for himself, Kwiatkowski was instrumental in helping Chris Froome to win a fourth Tour de France in July.

His triumph three years ago saw him attack on the final descent and that could be the case in Bergen with the final ascent of Salmon Hill likely to see the pivotal move before a 10km downhill run to the finish.

Kwiatkowski has been steadily backed to regain the rainbow jersey in recent days - contracting from 10-1 to as short as 13-2 - and that gamble may not be misplaced.

M Kwiatkowski
2pts e-w 8-1 Betway

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If Sagan completes a historic treble, it will be on the hardest course of the three
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