Spain's Mario Mola surged clear of his major rivals in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Series standings to win the British leg here today, held over the sprint distance in front of an engrossed crowd.
The 24-year-old from Majorca outsprinted South Africa's Richard Murray and Portugal's Joao Pereira to become first winner of a World Triathlon Series race in 18 months other than the three men who have dominated the sport: Spain's Javier Gómez and home favourites Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.
This showed the growing depth of what is being hailed as a golden era for men's triathlon, and it will be interesting to see if the result hails a new order.
Most of the pre-race attention had indeed focused upon Mola's team mate Gómez as the 31-year-old three-time world champion as he attempted to continue a winning run which has already seen him triumph in Auckland, Cape Town and Yokohama this season.
His main challenge was expected to come from the London 2012 Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee, and younger brother Jonathan, the 2012 world champion, the runner-up in Auckland and Cape Town.
But the fact that today's race was held over the sprint distance of a 750 metres swim followed by a 20 kilometres cycle ride and a 5km run appeared to have made a difference.
After Slovakian Richard Varga took the lead with a superb swim to stretch the field out, a large group came back together on the bike leaving everything to play for on the run and, although it was gradually whittled down, all the leading names remained in contention in the closing stages.
But as the crowd support became louder and louder, first Jonathan Brownlee and then Gómez slipped back, and coming into the finishing straight Alistair Brownlee, also the 2009 and 2011 world champion, took a minor stumble which ultimately cost him a podium finish.
Mola, who provided a glimpse of his form earlier this month with second place in Yokohama, was the one to capitalise by surging clear over the final 100m to win in 49min 46sec.
Murray held on for second place, while Pereira marked a breakthrough performance with a first World Triathlon Series podium-finish two seconds behind in third.
"I knew Richard had an amazing last kilometre, I tried to stay behind him and when we saw the blue carpet, that is the end, tried to give everything I had left."
The women's race, meanwhile, was less close but still equally exciting as US star Gwen Jorgensen broke clear early in the running leg to eventually win by almost 30 seconds in 54:44.
Once again the race proved disappointing for the home crowd, with the 2008 and 2011 world champion Helen Jenkins the leading Briton in seventh place.
Teammate Jodie Stimpson, winner of the opening two races in Auckland and Cape Town, was still feeling the effects of an injury she sustained two weeks ago in Yokohama.
She finished in 11th place and relinquished her lead in the overall standings to Jorgensen.
Another Briton, reigning world champion Non Stanford, missed the race as she continues to suffer from the foot injury that has kept her sidelined throughout the season so far.
May 2014: Gómez seeking to continue unbeaten World Triathlon Series season in backyard of British rivals
May 2014: Gómez continues to dominate ITU World Series with win in Yokohama
April 2014: Gómez continues quest for fourth world title in Cape Town beating Brownlee again
April 2014: British women dominate ITU World Triathlon Series in Cape Town
April 2014: Gómez and Stimpson secure gold at ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Auckland