Britain’s Mark Cavendish finished second as Peter Sagan won a sprint finish to retain his title at the Road World Championships in Doha.
Slovakia’s Sagan, 26, beat 2011 champion Cavendish after a 257.5km (160 miles) race as Belgian Tom Boonen, who won the 2005 title, came third.
Cavendish had followed Sagan but his sprint was checked when he was caught behind Australia’s Michael Matthews.
“I am just disappointed I messed up tactically,” Cavendish told BBC Sport.
“I came with so much speed and power. I wanted to be on Peter’s wheel. I knew the Norwegians would hit out early into the headwind and I knew Sagan would just get the right wheel and I could float off him.
“I told Adam (Blythe) to come with a few hundred metres to go and when he came alongside, it spread everyone and everyone jumped and I had nowhere to go.
“The hard thing was losing Luke Rowe to a puncture which would have given us three in the front and he would have been valuable at the end. I am just going to have to settle for another second this year.”
Cavendish’s podium finish rounds off a year that has seen the 31-year-old win four stages of the Tour de France, the madison track world title with Sir Bradley Wiggins and his first ever Olympic medal, with silver in the omnium.
Crosswinds in the desert split the peloton with 172km to go but Cavendish and fellow Briton Adam Blythe, who eventually finished 12th, managed to stay in the main group.
Fancied names caught out included German sprinters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel and France’s Nacer Bouhanni, who could not close the gap and they knew their races were over a long way from the finish line.
Five Belgian riders, including Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet made it into the front group and they were able to dictate the tactics as they tried to set up Boonen for the win.
However, Sagan, who in July won the points jersey at the Tour de France for the fifth successive year, timed his sprint for the line to perfection.
“I don’t believe it, I’m still in shock, ” said Sagan. “I’m very happy because in the crosswinds I was the last to make it into the lead group.
“It felt a bit like a headwind at the finish so I had to go from a long way back in the sprint.”
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) 5hrs 40mins 43secs
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Same time
3. Tom Boonen (Bel)
4. Michael Matthews (Aus)
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita)
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
8. William Bonnet (Fra)
9. Niki Terpstra (Ned)
10. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)