Amalie Dideriksen surprised even herself when her late surge edged her ahead of favorite Kirsten Wild and won the women’s race at the road cycling world championships on Saturday.
Lotta Lepisto of Finland was third with the same time, and defending champion Elizabeth Deignan of Britain fourth.
The 20-year-old Dideriksen was the world junior champion in 2013 and 2014, and finished fifth in the omnium at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. But the quality of the field at the road worlds made her consider only a top-10 finish.
“Winning here is a surprise for me, too,” the Dane said. “I had such good teammates. I had a small crash and they brought me back.”
The Netherlands team was in control heading toward the sprint finish, with Marianne Vos in perfect position to win her fourth road race world title as the group entered the final 300 meters. Her compatriot Wild, considered a Doha specialist having won the Ladies Tour of Qatar four times, then took over.
But Dideriksen, who was 17th with one lap to go, unleashed an even better finish.
The 134-kilometer race started in 35-degree heat, and Japan champion Eri Yonamine was the first to attack.
On the second of seven laps of the man-made island Pearl, Wild crashed, got up quickly, and was soon brought back into the peloton.
Yonamine was joined by Switzerland’s Nicole Hanselmann up front, and the duo was ahead by 40 seconds with 84 kilometers to go.
There were relentless attacks by Netherlands, Germany, Britain, and Australia, and the leaders were reeled in around the halfway mark.
American Amber Neben attacked with three laps to go, and opened up a gap of 45 seconds with two laps to go, which was brought down to 24 seconds after another lap. But the Dutch, Australians, and British soon took over and were bunched up closing on the finish.
On Sunday, the championships end with the men’s race. Peter Sagan of Slovakia is the defending champion.