ITALY’S Marta Bastianelli won gold in a thrilling women’s road race that remained in the balance until the final metres. Silver went to with defending champion Marianne Vos from the Netherlands and Germany’s Lisa Brennauer, who beat Katie Archibald to individual pursuit gold in the velodrome on Saturday, won bronze.

The starting line-up, which included Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth medallists, promised a world-class race and the riders did not disappoint on the 130km course that snaked around Glasgow’s streets, with the winner impossible to predict throughout the three and a half hour battle.

The pre-race favourites included Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen as well as reigning European champion, Vos and Italy’s Olympic medallist, Elisa Longo Borghini, with British hopes resting primarily with former Olympic team pursuit champion on the track, Dani Rowe.

But it was Bastianelli who came from behind to snatch victory at the death and the 31-year-old, who was world road race champion way back in 2007 before being banned for a doping offence the following year, was visibly emotional as the enormity of her victory sunk in.

“It was a very hard race today. From start to finish, it was incredible,” the Italian said.

“The final three laps passed so quickly and I didn’t know what was happening at the front of the race. And when I saw my teammate Longo Borghini ahead with van der Breggen, I thought, that’s it over.

“Coming towards the finish, I could see the top three riders and I thought the race was finished, that was it. But then in the final sprint, I just went for it.”

Glasgow came alive for the road races at the Commonwealth Games four years ago and there was a similar carnival atmosphere on a balmy afternoon yesterday. The first breakaway of the afternoon came on the second lap and included British teenager, Sophie Wright, who was one of the stand-out riders of the race despite ultimately finishing in 57th place.

The 19-year-old from Norwich has a distinct lack of experience on the road but she was entirely undaunted by the calibre of riders around her and when the rest of the breakaway group failed to share the workload, Wright went for it herself.

At one point, the teenager opened a three minute gap between herself and the chasing riders and remained out on her own for much of the middle part of the race but ultimately was caught by the chasing pack. However, Wright admitted she loved every minute of the experience and doesn’t regret for a minute her race tactics.

“It was amazing,” she said. “GB were animating the race from the start but on the second lap, I thought, now it’s my turn. About seven of us got away but as we got caught, I attacked again. The other girls just weren’t working though so I thought right, I’m going on my own.

“It was a bit frustrating that I had to go on my own and it was a bit of a slog but it was just amazing, the support was incredible and I absolutely loved it. That’s one of the best road races I’ve ever done. I really enjoyed it - I was going up hills smiling. It was just brilliant to have this opportunity.”

Best-placed Brit was Rowe, who finished in tenth place in the bunch sprint and the 27-year-old was satisfied with her and the British team’s performance, despite missing out on a medal.

“It was a hard race - it was relentless because it was attack after attack,” she said.

“I’m happy with how I rode though. I was aggressive and then in the sprint, if it had just been a little bit longer, I was coming up on the right so that was a shame. But the team rode really well together.”