Dexter Gardias delighted his home fans with a huge ride in the breakaway on stage seven of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to victory in Cheltenham as his Lotto NL Jumbo team-mate Lars Boom survived a series of challenges to his overall race lead.
Caleb Ewan took second place for Orica-Scott, with JLT Condor’s Brenton Jones completing the podium places on the 185km stage from Hemel Hempstead.
However Gardias, from Witney in Oxfordshire, had earlier put on a stellar display in the break to once again show off the BIKE Channel Canyon jersey.
He underlined his strength alongside Robbie Power, of Orica, An Post Chain Reaction’s Jacob Scott, Russ Downing, of JLT, Lukasz Owsian, from CCC, and ONE Pro Cycling’s Steele von Hoff.
Meanwhile, back in the bunch his team-mates were regularly to the fore, mixing it with their World Tour peers as they worked tirelessly in challenging conditions in the Cotswolds.
So open is the fight for overall glory, the break was never likely to remain clear. And when Tiago Machado, of Katusha, launched a counter just inside 70km to go, the warning signs were clear.
A chase group quickly formed but with 36km to go it was all back together and what followed was a thrilling dash into Cheltenham as Boom’s jersey was put under heavy pressure.
Katusha’s Tony Martin was the first to hit out and after the Lotto NL Jumbo leader had used up the majority of his team-mates in the chase, a group of five attacked over Cleeve Hill.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, of Dimension Data, Wanty Groupe Gobert’s Dion Smith, Dylan van Baarle, from Cannondale Drapac, Movistar’s Gorka Izagirre and Laurens de Plus, of Quick-Step Floors, made a bold bid for glory.
De Plus and was brought down by 2014 winner van Baarle as the slippery conditions took their toll.
The remaining trio were brought back inside the final 3km and as Boom breathed a sigh of relief, Groenewegen outgunned Ewan to take the honours on the line.
Mark McNally pinched points on the final sprint to wrest the Eisberg jersey from the back of JLT’s Graham Briggs, while Scott retained his lead in the Skoda king of the mountains competition.
In the overall, Boom leads from Stefan Kung, of BMC, ahead of the 180km finale from Worcester to Cardiff on Sunday (11am).
Click here for the full result.