France's Julian Alaphilippe on Sunday fulfilled his "career dream" of pulling on the rainbow jersey after winning the men's world road race title at Imola on Sunday.
Alaphilippe crossed the line alone ahead of Belgian Wout van Aert and Swiss Marc Hirschi after more than six and a half hours in the saddle following the 258km race through the hills of Romagna.
"For the moment it's very hard to find the words," said the 28-year-old, who became the first French rider to claim the world title since Laurent Brochard in 1997.
"It was the dream of my career. I've been so close so many times but I had never even been on the podium."
"I came here with a lot of ambitions. It's a dream day for me.
"I want to thank everyone who follows me and support me. Today the France team has been very strong."
Alaphilippe attacked on top of the final climb less than 12km from the finish line for a solo ride home, 24 seconds ahead of his rivals at the Imola racetrack.
The French rider had won the second stage of the Tour de France in Nice on August 30, having spent 14 days in the yellow jersey in the 2019 edition.
Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar vainly launched an attack on the penultimate climb at Gallisterna, 42km from the line.
But the 22-year-old Slovenian was reeled in by van Aert's teammates.