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Van der Poel wins protest-hit world championship road race

Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel won the men’s road race world championship in Glasgow on Sunday with a late solo escape after a 271km run that began in Edinburgh.

Belgian Wout van Aert was second with two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia in third in a race that was blocked for an hour by climate protestors who glued themselves to the road as the riders passed through remote countryside.

The 28-year-old Van der Poel was amongst the favourites after also winning the ultra-long Milan-San Remo (299km) and Paris-Roubaix (253km) this year.

Van der Poel survived a late fall on a rain slick corner where he skidded into the barriers but picked himself up and finished with a broken shoe clasp.

He had dropped Van Aert, Pogacar and Mads Pedersen 20km from the line with a sudden attack, and cried on the ground with relief after the finish line.

The win will also go some way to making up for the controversy of the 2022 championships in Australia where he had been the title favourite.

Instead of competing, he ended up under arrest and in a police cell after a confrontation with two teenage girls who he claimed had repeatedly knocked on his hotel door and ran away.

On Sunday, the race was halted as five climate protesters from the environmental group ‘This is Rigged’ were arrested after demonstrating against cycling sponsor Ineos, a major producer of oil and gas-related products.

The peloton was stuck in open countryside for 55 minutes as police removed the group who had glued themselves to the surface.

The race restarted with its conclusion played out in downtown Glasgow over ten laps, each of which took in 48 corners.

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