Jodie Stimpson’s first competitive race in more than six months saw her take the silver medal after a dramatic sprint finish at the season opening event of the 2017 World Triathlon Series.
The 28-year-old had been on the sidelines for six months with an Achilles injury, but showed no signs of trouble as she kicked on to lead in the final 200m of the race in Abu Dhabi.
But a determined showing from New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt saw Stimpson pipped to gold with just a few metres remaining, falling just short of retaining the title she picked up 12 months ago.
"I was the stronger one going up the hill so I was the one trying to put the pressure on each lap," she said.
"But if I was going to lose to a sprint finish, I am glad it was Andrea today.
"I can't thank my family enough for getting me through the last year."
But for Stimpson, it was a performance on the bike that drew most attention in a stunning display having been more than 40 seconds behind then-leader Caroline Routier of Spain, following the 1.5km swim.
Stimpson led out the first chase group from the saddle, with the hard work under the Abu Dhabi sun seeing her take the lead alongside Hewitt, part of a nine-strong group that looked destined for the medals.
The effort was not done there however, pushing into a lead group of four and forcing Hewitt and Sara Vilic – who would eventually take bronze – into also upping their game.
But just as it looked set for Stimpson to hold onto her crown, the New Zealander delivered a mesmeric final sprint as both competitors finised with a time of 2:06:47 minutes.
Fellow British star India Lee finished in 16th place in a time of 2:07:41, delivering a 40km bike time of just 1:06:21 in the process.
The competition now heads into the weekend, with Adam Bowden, Tom Bishop, Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon looking to lay down a marker for the eight-race series in the men’s race.