Valkenburg - Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert won the men's cycling world road race title for the first time on Sunday.
The 30-year-old, who last year became only the second rider to win all three Ardennes one day classics in the same season, broke away on the final climb to come home clear of Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen while Alejandro Valverde of Spain took the bronze.
Spain's two-time Tour de France champion, and recent Tour of Spain winner Alberto Contador, had livened up the race with 81km of the 267km race distance to go, breaking away with a group including France's leading hope Thomas Voeckler.
The Belgian team, though, led the pursuing pack and reeled them in at the 233km mark.
Various riders made breaks without being able to build up a large enough lead before Gilbert, who had never even won a medal in the race, made his break on the final climb of the Cauberg.
None of the pursuing riders were able to orchestrate a co-ordinated counter attack and the Belgian, who had warmed up for the race with two stage wins in the Tour of Spain, was able to start his race celebrations well before the finishing line.
British rider Mark Cavendish's defence of his title ended in disappointing fashion as he retired from the race with 111km to go.
The 27-year-old had not been expected to be a contender for the title this time round as the undulating 267km course was less suited to his talents than the one he won on in Copenhagen last year.
Cavendish, who last year became the first British rider since the late Tom Simpson in 1965 to win the world title, had set the pace on several occasions at the head of the peloton before finally giving up.
He was joined on the sidelines later in the race by Tour de France and Olympic time-trial champion champion Bradley Wiggins and Tour de France runner-up and Olympic time-trial bronze medallist Chris Froome, both exhausted from their long seasons.
Cycling world road championship winners after the final day on Sunday:
Road race: Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
Time-trial: Tony Martin (GER)
Under-23 road race: Alexei Lutsenko (KAZ)
Under-23 time-trial: Anton Vorobyev (RUS)
Juniors road race: Matej Mohoric (SLO)
Juniors time-trial: Oskar Svendsen (NOR)
Road race: Marianne Vos (NED)
Time-trial: Judith Arndt (GER)
Juniors road race: Lucy Garner (GBR)
Juniors time-trial: Elinor Barker (GBR)