Italy's Elisa Balsamo outsprinted the Netherlands' Marianne Vos in a thrilling finish to become the world road race champion in Flanders on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Valcar rider was set up superbly national team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini as the highly competitive 157.7km race reached the final kilometre.
The Dutch team, who were the favourites, were set up for a victory, as the dominating Marianne Vos was poised on the wheel of Balsamo in the final 250 metres, but she was forced to settle for second.
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Poland's Katarzyna 'Kasia' Niewiadoma finished third after an impressive attack in the final 10km of the race.
An emotional Balsamo said afterwards on her victory: "I'm totally speechless I have no words to describe this feeling. It's unbelievable."
Asked whether she had the legs, she said: "I don't know, it was the dream for me after this long season and by team was so so good and without them this jersey wasn't possible. My team were so good and sorry I have no words.
She added that she needs some time for the win to sink in: "My team-mate perfect lead out, I really believe in them and yes after the last corner I switch off my brain and say you have to go full gas and not look behind and go full gas. I think that I need some days to realise today. And next year with this jersey.. I don't know... it is a dream."
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From the off, the battle looked set between GB and the Netherlands, with Belgium's Lotte Kopecky a strong contender on home roads, and it was the two powerful teams who controlled the peloton for the majority of the race until GB fell away in the final 5km.
The pace was fast for the hilly route from Antwerp to Leuven and any attacks until the final 10km were short lived as GB and the Dutch team closed them down, perhaps learning from mistakes in the Olympic road race when Anna Kiesenhofer attacked and soloed to a gold medal.
The Italian team were conservative at the start and only began to push with Elisa Longo Borghini covering off attacks at the front of the breakaway group, as the kilometres ticked on to the final two-and-a-half loops around Leuven.
Aude Biannic of France went for a solo lunge, but was closed down within a couple of kilometres by Marlen Reusser of Switzerland.
Spain's Mavi Garcia was the solo ride which made the difference in the day, going off the front with 22km to go. Garcia built a breakaway of around 18 seconds and held off the lead group for 12km, before Niewiadoma showed her strength in form and put herself as a serious contender for the win.
Garcia's attack had clearly worn down the legs of Annemiek Van Vleuten of the Netherlands and Anna Henderson of GB who were covering Garcia off. When Marianne Vos moved towards the front in the final kilometre the Dutch team faded away and Vos, although dominating as a sprinter, was left with no support, opening the door for the Italian team to lead out Balsano for the win.
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Longo Borghini said they expected the Dutch team to be more aggressive, but the final two laps around Leuven were like a big criterum race. She told Eurosport's Bernie Eisel: "I did my job you know and it's really nice when your can really happen and you deliver what you are here for.
"I knew I had to close all the gaps I felt really well today and I felt the one to be launching her for a sprint and I had to try and lead her as close as possible to the finish line. I believed she could win, and when you work for it most of the time it happens."
"We actually expected the Netherlands to be more aggressive and I was up there to control the race and follow attacks but it was kind of controlled and the last two loops were like a big crit with a nice jersey as a prize."
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