The Brit was on the attack right from the start and powered his way into a five-man breakaway on the longest stage of the race.
Stannard blew the group apart with hard, committed riding and was able to accelerate away from rival Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) after a trio of attacks on the run into Mansfield.
The pair went toe to toe in a thrilling 15km individual pursuit, with Stannard holding a slender and tantalising advantage before the gap eventually began to spin out as Politt started to fade.
Crossing the line with a winning margin of 59 seconds, the win marked a second stage success for Stannard in his home race, and back to back victories for Team Sky following Wout Poels’ heroics 24 hours earlier.
The peloton had given up all hope of chasing down the move, with Poels able to sit in and cross the line safely to retain second place overall. With just one stage now remaining the Dutchman remains just 17 seconds off race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), with a bunch sprint expected on the final day in London.
After the stage the achievement began to sink in for Stannard. Describing his big day out, he confirmed: “We were worried about the wind, but once we got racing and realised it wasn’t as bad as we thought I went with some moves and ended up where I was. I went for it from quite far out and there’s no coming back from there.
“It was always quite close – around seven or eight seconds – and it was getting quite tough. I got a few more little kicks towards the end and managed to put a bit more of a gap in so I was happy then.
“Once I got in the break I was pretty confident. I was looking at the guys and how they were riding all day and knew I had the edge.”