Filippo Ganna silenced the home crowd in Bruges by retaining his time trial title at the UCI World Road Championships on Sunday (19 September).
It was silver again for local hero Wout van Aert, who is still awaiting his first global road cycling title to go with his three cyclo-cross world crowns.
Remco Evenepoel made it two Belgians on the podium, but Ganna proved his mettle once more after his fifth place at Tokyo 2020 where he also finished one spot ahead of van Aert.
The 25-year-old Italian completed the 43.3km course in 47:47.83, 5.37 seconds faster than van Aert with Evenepoel a further 38 seconds back.
Germany's four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin was sixth with Wednesday's mixed relay his final race before retirement
Reigning two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia was 10th.
"It's a dream to win again and to defend this jersey." - FILIPPO GANNA
Cheered on by a vocal home crowd and wearing start number 44, the 2019 runner-up Evenepoel put down the first strong time of the competition.
The former youth football star, who fractured his pelvis in a horror crash at the Giro di Lombardia just over a year ago, set the target with a time of 48:31.17.
He kept the lead until the final two riders with Denmark's Kasper Asgreen, the fourth last rider, just over two seconds outside his time.
Van Aert led Ganna by six seconds at the first intermediate checkpoint, but that gap was down to eight-tenths of a second with 10km to go.
The crowd roared their man on, and he crossed the line in 47:53.20 to take the lead with just Ganna left.
But the Italian looked ominously smooth going into the closing stages, and went well inside van Aert's time to claim his second rainbow jersey on the road after four individual pursuit world titles on the track.
Ganna was also part of Italy's victorious pursuit team in the velodrome at Tokyo 2020.
He said afterwards, "I think in one week my condition improved after the short camp at altitude. I didn't know I could arrive at these Worlds in good shape.
"When I woke up this morning, I had a good feeling in the legs. It's a dream to win again and to defend this jersey."
It was more disappointment for van Aert who claimed two silver medals at last year's World Championships in Imola, and took road race silver at Tokyo 2020 behind Ecuador's Richard Carapaz.