Pauline Ferrand-Prevot of France won the women's elite road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada on Saturday.
In a race that saw a number of crashes, the 22-year-old was rarely in contention until the latter stages where she came out on top in a sprint to ensure a first career rainbow jersey.
In doing so, the French National Road Race Champion denied title holder Marianne Vos a third consecutive success at the worlds, with Lisa Brennauer of Germany in second.
Last year's runner-up Emma Johansson was in third after a photo finish confirmed the final positions.
The opening 60 kilometres were marred by a series of crashes, one of which affected Vos and forced the Dutch competitor to race hard to remain at the forefront of the peloton.
Shortly after the third crash, there was the first breakaway as Slovenia's Spela Kern surged clear into a 20-second lead.
The German team sought to reel in Kern but she extended her lead as many of the favourites opted to hang back and bide their time.
Ahead of a quick descent with 40km left, Vos edged close to the front of the chasing pack with Kern back in the peloton.
America's Alison Powers then led briefly before she too was caught as rain began to make life more precarious for the riders.
Australian Rachel Neylan assumed a 10-second lead as Rossella Ratto attacked approaching the top of the Mirador climb.
Chantal Blaak, Reta Trotman and Katarzyna Niewiadoma joined Neylan and Ratto towards the front at the start of the final lap with Vos lurking.
Vos, along with Lizzie Armitstead, Elisa Longo Borghini and Johansson then broke clear going into the latter stages but the quartet were caught on the final straight before Ferrand-Prevot edged a narrow sprint finish to claim victory.