(CNN) -- Gregory Bauge had to fight of the surprise challenge of Malaysian pocket rocket Azizulhasni Awang to win the coveted sprint crown on the final day of the world track cycling championships in Poland.
Bauge battles off Awang in the deciding race in the sprint final.
Awang, who cut a diminutive figure alongside the powerful Bauge, had not been expected to reach the final, but made the most of his opportunity.
Bauge won the first race in the best-of-three series by a photo finish, but was outwitted by the tactics and speed of Awang in the second race.
But Bauge made no mistake in the decider to succeed Chris Hoy as world champion and give France their first global champion in the discipline since 2003.
Briton Hoy, who won the world and Olympic title last season, sat out the championships after a high speed crash last month.
Awang was winning the first medal for Malaysia at a world cycling championships.
In other final action on Sunday, Guo Shuang of China took gold in a thrilling women's keirin, edging out Clara Sanchez of France and Dutch rider Willy Kanis.
Britain's Victoria Pendleton, who pipped Kanis to retain her sprint crown on Saturday, did not make the final.
Giorgia Bronzini of Italy took the honors in the women's points race and Leigh Howard of Australia won the men's omnium gold.
His victory completed a fine week for Australia, who headed the medal table with 10 medals, including four golds.
France won three golds, with Britain, who fielded an inexperienced squad ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, in third place with nine medals, two of them gold.
The championships saw the emergence of several stars, most notably 18-year-old Taylor Phinney of the United States, who won pursuit gold and followed up with a remarkable silver in the 1km time trial.
He was expected to challenge in the omnium event, which mixed endurance and speed events, but could only finish a tired sixth behind Howard.