Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) won the PostNord Vårgårda West Sweden Road Race with a perfectly executed attack into the final corner that allowed her to open a gap on the rest of the peloton and savour her third victory in the prestigious women's WorldTour race.
The Dutchwoman recovered from a crash earlier in the race to take her impressive victory.
"People may think: 'it ended in a bunch sprint, so nothing happened', but it was a fast race with lots of attacks and of course there was some gravel, where you need to pedal to stay in the front," Vos explained.
"I had a little hiccup and landed in the ditch. My bike wanted to go to the right off the road, so I followed the bike. But I could get to the front again with the help of my teammates."
With one lap of 11 kilometres to go, UCI Women's WorldTour leader Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) made a strong solo attack but the combined efforts of the peloton, including a long pull by Vos' WaowDeals teammate Dani Rowe, brought the Olympic champion back.
"It is not easy to catch Anna, but when it got within five seconds in the last five kilometres, I went to the front," said Vos. "And with a perfect lead-out I managed to get first into the last corner."
Vos made full use of her racing experience and bike-handling skills to go through the final corner on the ideal line.
"That last corner is crucial, but there is also still a long way to go. You have to have a good position," she said.
"I saw Kirsten Wild coming on the right side and knew that if she goes first, it would be really hard. So I sprinted as fast as I could to go through first, and then it is 300 metres to go. When I came out, I saw I had a little gap and decided just to go full to the line."
Wild and Lepistö satisfied with podium places
Wild won the sprint for second place, two seconds behind Vos. The Dutch sprinter acknowledged that Vos' superior cornering skills handed her the win.
"It was a pretty hectic race with the gravel sections, we were lucky with the good weather and had a really nice race in a nice atmosphere," said Wild.
"We stayed calm as a team and gambled a bit on the other teams to do the work. Marianne is such a strong rider, and she is experienced with corners like this while I do not like them so much. I cannot be disappointed to be second behind her, and I had great help from my team, so I am happy about that."
Defending champion Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) finished on the podium again, but was beaten by two Dutchwomen this year. She gave credit to her team for their work in the finale to bring the race back together for a sprint.
"It is one of my favourite races, Sweden is almost like home, so it is always nice to come back here," Lepistö said.
"There was a lot going on today with lots of attacks, but my teammates were at the front the whole time. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig had an amazing day, I thought that maybe they could join the break with Van der Breggen. In the end, they worked to bring it back for me, it was good teamwork today.
"Going on the inside through the final corner was the only chance I had left, I had to do that to have the feeling of having tried everything."
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