Dani Rowe had her 11th hour SOS call answered in style after achieving her best Women's Tour finish thanks to a brave fifth and final stage performance in Wales.
The 27-year-old (WaowDeals) finished third overall – and took the Adnams Best British Rider crown in the process – after completing the 122-kilometre stage in the front group.
She ultimately trailed overall winner Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) by 25 seconds, while her team-mate Marianne Vos finished 11 seconds behind in second as the WaowDeals Pro Cycling team took the team prize in the race.
The performance from the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist was even more remarkable considering she suffered a heavy crash during stage four on Saturday.
Rowe was forced to send out an SOS to her social media followers to hook her up with emergency medical equipment following the incident towards the end of the penultimate stage.
But she was able to make the start line and finished the fifth stage in 17th, which was enough to maintain third place over Christine Majerus in fourth.
“I feel really proud to be a part of this team. It’s been a really special week," said Rowe, who admitted she was still struggling with injury from the crash.
“I was suffering out the saddle so I just tried to conserve as much energy as possible, riding on the drops up the climb to be as aero as possible and stay in contact with the bunch.
“After that I got more and more confident that I would be there at the finish. Marianne went for the intermediate sprint to help defend my third place from the two Boels [Dolmans] girls who were just three seconds behind me.
“I had my doubts [getting over the two Queen of the Mountain climbs], but my team and team-mates didn’t. They believed in me.
“When I survived the two climbs there was a big chance that it would end in the sprint so I tried to focus on it and try my best.”
It was a fitting conclusion to a fantastic week for Rowe, who begun the Women’s Tour by coming fifth behind winner Jolien D’hoore in stage one in Southwold, Suffolk, on Wednesday.
She improved her position in the second stage in Daventry, Northamptonshire, finishing in fourth to move up to second place overall – with team-mate Vos a further second in arrears.
Rowe maintained her place in the overall top three – and her status as the top Brit – after stage three in Warwickshire by sprinting across the line in tenth in Royal Leamington Spa.
But she swapped places with WaowDeals team-mate Vos after her crash on stage four in Worcester and was forced to overcome injury to ensure her hard work during the week didn’t go to waste.
And the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist showed her never-say-die attitude as she completed the final stage and secured her place on the podium.
Her third-place overall finish meant she was also the Adnams Best British Rider, which she took ahead of Abby-Mae Parkinson and Neah Evans. Picture Credit: SWpix.com Sportsbeat