Nils Eekhoff won the gold at the World Cycling Championships on Friday. The Dutchman was the strongest in the sprint of a small group at the road race in the British Yorkshire.

21-year-old Eekhoff, who has been a trainee for Team Sunweb since the beginning of August, was ahead of Italian Samuele Battistella (second) and Swiss Stefan Bissegger (third).

In the road race over 173 kilometers, Eekhoff was in the final part of a group with the Colombian Sergio Higuita, who won a stage in the last Vuelta a España, and the Danish Andreas Kron.

In the final kilometer, the trio was joined by four more riders and this septet sprinted for the win. Eekhoff was leading early in the sprint and seemed to be passed by Higuita, but the Dutchman fought back and held on to the finish line.

Eekhoff is the first Dutch world champion in the U23, which has been on the program since 1996. Thomas Dekker was until now the only Dutchman to win a medal at the road race for riders under the age of 23. In 2003 he took bronze and a year later silver.

Pascal Eenkhoorn was the second Dutchman in the top ten. He won the second group sprint in 38 seconds and finished eighth.