A slip on greasy a cobble stone climb less than two kilometres from the finish has cost New Zealand rider Dion Smith a top finish in the under-23 road race at the World Championships in Virginia.
The 22 year old Smith, who had pushed into the leading group for the final climb on Libby Hill in downtown Richmond, was gutted after he fell with light rain making the surface treacherous.
The Auckland rider had been positioned well for a top result before several riders fell on the slippery surface.
"I knew I had to take it easy with the layer of water on the cobbles. When some riders came down inside me I had to evade them but the slightest reaction on that surface was enough and I came down," Smith said.
"I hit my knee pretty hard on the bars and just couldn't get going. Right now it is really gutting but I guess that is bike racing."
Smith said he had positioned himself ideally and was confident he would have played a significant part in a push for medals.
"I was breathing well and my legs were good. I would have given it a real go. It is doubly disappointing because Hayden (McCormick) and James (Oram) had ridden me into a good position."
Smith said the team plan was to keep in cover early in the race with McCormick and Oram to position Smith near the front of the race and in the top 10 going up Libby Hill for the final time.
It won't be the final time that the trio ride together, having all signed for the new pro continental team of ONE Pro Cycling, a British-backed team that will race in Europe next year.
France's Kevin Ledanois won the 165 kilometre road race in three hours 54 minutes.
New Zealand's Oram was 71st, Smith 85th and McCormick 116.
Earlier Auckland's Hannah Gumbly was the best of the New Zealander riders in the junior women's race, finishing in the second chase pack in 43rd place.
Georgia Catterick was 53rd just ahead of teammate Mikayla Harvey in 56th.