Preston’s Hugh Carthy produced an epic solo ride to take his first victory on the world stage as he won the final round of the Tour of Switzerland.
The 24-year-old spent almost all of the mountainous 101.5km stage on his own, finishing over a minute clear.
Team Ineos’ Egan Bernal took the overall race win, topping the standings by 19 seconds from Rohan Dennis.
Colombian Bernal said he would take “a lot of confidence” into next month’s Tour de France.
He has been installed as second-favourite for the Tour - which begins on 6 July – behind team-mate and defending champion Geraint Thomas.
With their other team-mate Chris Froome injured, Thomas is expected to be the focus for Team Ineos, but this win confirms that Bernal – who came 15th last year – will be a significant back-up should Thomas falter. The Colombian again showed his comfort in the mountains as he stuck close when Bahrain-Merida rider Dennis launched an attack with 25km to go.
The Australian was desperately trying to claw back time and snatch the race win but at no point did Bernal - who has led since the conclusion of stage six – look like he would break.
Dennis finished second on the stage, with Bernal third, as Carthy enjoyed a solo procession to the line for his EF education First Team.
The Preston-born rider opened up a gap of over three minutes on the peloton and eventually crossed the line one minute and two seconds clear.
“It genuinely wasn’t planned,” Carthy said of his ride.
“Two days ago, the stage to [San Gottardo], I was terrible there.
“My legs and head were tired and I wanted to be on holiday. But yesterday in the time trial the legs were better, so I felt more motivated. One last chance, so I tried to finish on a high.
“It’s still sinking in. I just feel relief.
“We train hard and make sacrifices and we lose sight of victory.
“We want to win every race but It’s just relief to pay back the confidence of my team and team-mates, it’s nothing more than that at the moment.”