Gold medalist Slovakia's Peter Sagan (C), silver medalist Norway's Alexander Kristoff (L) and bronze medalist Australia's Michael Matthews pose with their medals after the men elite road race of the UCI Cycling Road World Championships in Bergen, on Septe
Peter Sagan won the men's road race in a photo finish from Alexander Kritstoff, with Michael Matthews in third.
Sagan takes Road Race win after incredible photo finish
Sagan timed his attack perfectly to snatch a third rainbow jersey in three years, and, in doing so, becomes the fifth man after Alfredo Binda, Rik Van Steenbergen, Eddy Merckx and Óscar Freire to claim the crown on three occasions.
The Slovakian also becomes the first man in history to win the event three times in a row.
"It's something special for sure to win it a third time in a row," Sagan said post-race.
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.
Sagan dedicates win to Scarponi: 'It would have been his birthday tomorrow'
But they were eventually reined in and most of the top sprinters contested the win.
Sagan, who was kicked out of the Tour de France this year for sending Mark Cavendish crashing in a sprint, was clearly the strongest as he added to his titles in Doha and Richmond, Virginia.
Belgium had no pure sprinters and they tried to blow up the race to avoid a mass finish.
Tim Wellens broke away with 70 km left and was followed by seven riders -- Spain's David De La Cruz, Dutch Lars Boom, Italian Alessandro De Marchi, Colombian Jarlinson Pantano, Austrian Maro Haller, Australian Jack Haig and Norway's Odd Christian Eiking.
They built up a maximum gap of 45 seconds as France tried to take control at the front of the peloton.
The break was ended 25 km from the finish after the peloton was split in the penultimate passage up to Salmon Hill.
In the final ascent, Alaphilippe burst away from the leading pack and only Moscon could follow as they opened up a 10-second gap.
They came up just short, though. The Frenchman contested the sprint but ended up 10th.