Mathieu van der Poel won the men's road race today at the Cycling World Championships ©Getty Images

Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel won his first road race gold medal at the Cycling World Championships despite the best efforts of protesters to put a stop to the race.

The Tour de France and Giro d'Italia stage winner came across the line in Glasgow alone after 6hours 7min 27sec following the 271.1-kilometre ride from Edinburgh.

He was followed by Belgian Wout van Aert and Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar at 1min 37sec and 1:45, respectively.

"It means everything," Van der Poel said, of his victory.

"It was one of the biggest goals I had left and to win it today was amazing.

"It almost completes my career, in my opinion.

"It's maybe my biggest victory on the road."

He initially attacked within a group including double Tour de France winner Pogačar, 2019 world road champion Mads Pedersen of Denmark, and 2022 Tour de France points classification winner Van Aert.

Cyclists travelled 271.1km from Edinburgh to Glasgow in a gruelling race that saw just 51 finishers from 193 starters ©UCI
Cyclists travelled 271.1km from Edinburgh to Glasgow in a gruelling race that saw just 51 finishers from 193 starters ©UCI

Van der Poel, who also won the world cyclo-cross title this year, made his decisive move with 22km remaining.

"I knew this was the hardest moment, especially because we had a downhill and then a bump", he said. 

"I noticed the race was a bit 'on the limit' but then saw nobody was following me. 

"That gave me wings and I was flying."

It proved to be a gruelling race, starting with 193 riders before being whittled down to just 51 finishers, which saw Van der Poel collapse to the ground after completing the course.

A total of five people were arrested in the aftermath of the protest which was organised by environmentalist group This Is Rigged, which appear to target Ineos, sponsor of the Ineos Grenadiers team, and Shell which is partnered with British Cycling until 2030.

"A message to the protesters," said Adam Hansen, head of the Professional Cyclists Association. 

"What you did in today's race did the opposite to help the environment.

"While a bike race might not be the best thing for the environment, the impact of exposing people to the thought of taking up cycling is key for the environment."

There was also track cycling action today at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, with Olympic silver medallist Ellesse Andrews of New Zealand prevailing in the women's elite keirin.

She finished in 11.305sec to narrowly pip Colombian Martha Bayona Pineda and Germany's Lea Sophie Friedrich.

Italian Filippo Ganna denied home athlete Daniel Bigham gold with a triumph by 0.054sec in the men's individual pursuit while his compatriot Jonathan Milan claimed bronze ahead of Portugal's Ivo Oliveira.

Belgium's Lotte Kopecky secured the women's elimination race win, defending her title from 2022.

Frenchwoman Valentine Fortin and Jennifer Valente of the United States settled for silver and bronze respectively.

Portugal's Iúri Leitão secured the overall men's omnium title following a points race victory.

It saw him finish with a total of 187 to beat Benjamin Thomas of France by two points and Japan's Shunsuke Imamura on 173.