Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark) upset the odds to win the UCI World Championships road race, beating race favourite Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) and Lotta Lepisto (Finland) to the line in a tense finish in Doha, Qatar.
The 20-year-old double junior world champion kept her powder dry throughout the 134.5km race, overcoming the disparity in number of teammates compared to her rivals to take the rainbow stripes with a well-timed sprint.
The Netherlands looked to have the race in the bag for Wild, leading a well-formed sprint train through the final kilometres and setting the four-time Tour of Qatar winner up for the final sprint. But Dideriksen sat in the 33-year-old’s wheel and passed her in the final 50 metres to take the win.
The strong Dutch team attempted to set the race alight with around 70km to go as one-by-one the likes of Marianne Vos, Ellen van Dijk and Chantal Blaak attacked off the front to force a change of pace in the peloton.
None of the attacks stuck, but individual time trial champion Amber Neben (USA) did make it out the front on her own, where she stayed until the penultimate crossing of the finish line on the Pearl Qatar island.
Great Britain were not happy to let the race come down to a bunch sprint, with Dani King laying down a strong attack just after the start of the final lap. Hannah Barnes then made her attack, followed by several other strong domestiques, and then Lizzie Deignan followed a move by Emma Johansson (Sweden) to bring the peloton back together.
The attacks died down again as the riders moved into the final 10km, with the Netherlands controlling the pace for Wild. While the Dutch formed their impressive sprint train, the British riders were a little more disorganised, with Deignan and Barnes trying to find the perfect position.
The Netherlands still had three riders on the front heading under the flamme rouge with Deignan sitting in fifth wheel. Wild opened her sprint but looked to fade before the line as Dideriksen moved out into the middle of the road to move past her for the win. Deignan finished fourth in her title defence.
UCI World Championships women’s road race (134.5km)
1. Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark), 3-10-27
2. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
3. Lotto Lepisto (Finland)
4. Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain)
5. Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
6. Roxanne Fournier (France)
7. Chloe Hosking (Australia)
8. Sheyla Gutierrez (Spain)
9. Joelle Numainville (Canada)
10. Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium), all same time