The tag of world road race champion is going to take some getting used to, according to Lizzie Armitstead after she held her nerve to edge out her rivals for the title in Richmond.
Twelve months ago, Armitstead suffered heartbreak and, despite being one of the pre-race favourites, she was eventually caught on the final sprint and finished seventh.
But there would be no repeat this time around in America as she hit the front with a kilometre to go before holding off any late attacks to cross the line first.
It was an impressive finish for the 26-year-old who at one stage was a minute down on the break with 19km to go, but led the fightback, leaving just enough energy to take the sprint to the finish.
The title – which ensures she will wear the rainbow jersey for the next 12 months – adds to road race medal collection that already includes Olympic silver and Commonwealth gold but crucially never a World Championships podium finish.
“This is the big one. To get to wear the rainbow jersey – it’s the most special thing in cycling – so to wear that is a dream come true,” she said.
“I just could not believe it, I did not get to celebrate as I was really going all out for the line. I was on the front, I was just waiting for the rush to come and it never came.
“I had to be patient in the race. With two laps to go I tested them on the steep cobbled climb. I thought maybe people would come across with me but they didn’t. I’m grateful that other teams had people in the front.
“It’s really strange, I can’t believe I have won, I’m still in shock.”