Mel Lowther launched an astonishing attack to clinch victory on the line as the HSBC UK | National Women’s Road Series descended on the Newton Longville Festival of Cycling Grand Prix.
In what was the penultimate round of the series, the Team Breeze rider pipped Joscelin Lowden to the win after the Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire rider had led for much of the latter stages of the race and looked to be set for victory.
Third place was taken by series leader Elizabeth Banks (Storey Racing), who continues at the top with 146 points, with Lowther (135) and Laura Massey (Drops) on 110 in second and third respectively.
Chanel Mason (Storey Racing) was the first to take the initiative in this race, taking an early lead to set the pace through lap one.
Three riders were quick to attempt a breakaway in the early stages, but despite their gap of 8-10 seconds, were soon reeled back in by the pack.
A short while later, some made for the breakaway once again, extending a 20m advantage, but the peloton remained hot on their wheels and the pack was soon one again.
With six laps done and dusted, no rider seemed likely to make a break stick, with the pack seemingly happy to go along as one.
But that soon changed as Stephanie Mottram (NCC Kuota Torelli) and Charlotte Broughton (Team Ford EcoBoost) found second gear, steaming away from the peloton to take a ten-second lead.
No chase was mounted however, and while Mottram was able to drop Broughton, she was soon joined at the front by Beth Crumpton (Storey Racing) as they extended the gap to 19 seconds.
The race is on
Mottram and Crumpton were soon caught however, as the rain started to fall in Buckinghamshire.
A new attack was formed and 13 riders escaped, but still nothing could stay away from the peloton for long.
That was until Lowden and Amy Roberts (Wiggle High 5) broke from the front, with Jo Tindley (Team Ford EcoBoost) leading the chase from behind.
Lowden and Roberts were able to open up their lead to 28 seconds, before extending it further to just over a minute as the final laps of the race approached.
The final countdown
Lowden was soon able to drop Roberts, and mounted a solo break as attacks were formed behind her from all directions.
Mason and Rebecca Johnson (Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire) managed to break away from the bunch but were soon brought back into the fold, as the peloton caught up with Roberts.
After initially reducing the gap on Lowden, the Aprire rider was still able to extend it back to 45 seconds, with just one lap standing in the way of her glory.
Halfway through the final lap, her advantage stood at 15 seconds, but coming into the final corner, it was a three-horse race between Lowden, Mason and Banks.
But from seemingly nowhere, Lowther was able to find top gear and beat the trio to the line, in a dramatic end to an astounding race.