A truly monumental win...
At 258 kilometres and with 5,000, of climbing, that really was a race for the toughest guys in the peloton. Alaphilippe has proven himself to be such a rider, hitting the kind of form that saw him dominate the headlines in the 2019 Tour de France just in time to scoop himself a rainbow jersey.
It's hard to think of a more popular winner.
The sprint for silver is won by Wout van Aert
And that looked like Marc Hirschi in third. Kwiatkowski was fourth. Valgren and Roglic took fifth and sixth respectively.
Alaphilippe collapses onto the tarmac in tears just over the line. It means so much to him.
Julian Alaphilippe is the men's world champion!
He rode it like he stole it. They couldn't get close to catching him.
He didn't give himself much time to enjoy the moment rolling over the line, but he won't care about that.
4km to go – I think he's gonna make it...
...I think he's gonnna see the end!
Alaphilippe can capitalise on the hesitation behind. The clock still says 15 seconds. The chasers are already thinking about making sure they take a medal, leaving the gold to France.
7km to go – Alaphilippe clear with 15 seconds on the chasers
The chasers seem reluctant to work together and the Frenchman is capitalising on that as much as he can.
10km to go – Quintet behind
The five chasers are Kwiatkowski, Fuglsang, Roglic, van Aert and Hirschi.
None of them want to bring van Aert to the line, however, and that might be their undoing.
And it's his nemesis Julian Alaphilippe who counters and flies right by the Pole.
This attack from the Frenchman has put every other rider in that elite group into difficulty, including Wout van Aert.
Van Aert follows him straight away, with Nibali, Kwiatkowski, Schachmann, Roglic, Fuglsang and Alaphilippe all in the wheels.
Benoot working for van Aert
The former Strade Bianche winner is working for this year's Strade Bianche winner here. They've brought back that small leading group. It's surely only a matter of time before Alaphilippe gives it the Barry McGuigan.
15km to go – One last time
This is it then, as attacks continue to fly, we have just one more ascent of the Cima Gallisterna where the race will be decided.
Off the front with a tiny gap is Jan Polanc. He has Dani Martinez, Michael Valgren and Greg van Avermaet with him as well as seven or eight other riders.
Now it's Guillaume Martin's turn to attack for France!
That really set the cat among the pigeons...
The Italians, quiet all day, have sent up a barrage of attacks. First Damiano Caruso and then Vicenzo Nibali. Wout van Aert is, so far, looking equal to all these attacks.
Nibali gets clear with the big Belgian, plus Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran in tow.
I don't think we'll get any peace now for a while.
20km to go – And big Tommy McWindmills lights up the race!
Holy Mackerel. What a dream team. Tom Dumoulin attacks over the gap and joins Pogacar in the lead. They only have a few bike lengths of advantage.
If you can keep your head, while all around you are losing theirs...
It has been a remarkably assured performance from the young Briton. He's not even a professional bike rider yet.
25km to go – He's doing it again!
Tadej Pogacar is eking out a bigger and bigger gap, it's up to 20" and this is playing perfectly to the Slovenian strategy.
If the chasing Belgians, French and Spanish riders absolutely empty themselves to catch Pogacar, Roglic can still attack over the top and have a great shot of victory.
30km to go – Pogacar still away
They are onto the race track for the penultimate time and Pogacar's gap is holding strong at 13 seconds. He hasn't broken the spirits of the Belgian riders just yet, but they don't have infinite resources. There are four of their eight riders on the front of the peloton now.
Julian Alaphilippe, meanwhile, has headed to the back of the peloton to ride on Tom Pidcock's wheel.
39km to go – Carnage caused
This Pogacar attack is going to spell the end of a lot of riders' races. He's got a gap of 11 seconds, while at the other end of the race there are plenty of riders getting shelled. Diego Ulissi is one of the casualties.
40km to go – Pogacar attacks!
He's brought up by Luka Mezgec and then just casually clips off the front. He immediately gets a few bike lengths and the Belgian team appear to decide to let him go.
Will they live to regret that?
New bike, no problem!
Here's that Pogacar bike change from earlier. Super smooth and relaxed.
45km to go – Belgium looking strong
The sky blue men from the lowlands are throttling this race and the longer they can keep things controlled, the better their odds of winning one would think. The likes of Alaphilippe for France or Vicenzo Nibali for Italy will need to go earlier, rather than try and beat the fast-finishing van Aert in a sprint.
50km to go – Positioning is everything
And when that's the case, it pays to have a guy like Luke Rowe ready to fight your corner. Tom Pidcock is one 'protected rider' for sure.
At the moment the two riders from Team Ineos are 1 and 2 at the front of the peloton, with one of their trade team mate Michal Kwiatkowski sitting in P3.
55km to go – Cheeky
The Belgians have started to ride just as Pogacar is trying to get back up through the cars. They've managed to retain all eight of their riders this late into the race.
You wouldn't bet against Wout van Aert now.
60km to go – French bringing the pain
Things are whittling down more and more as the peloton once again rolls onto the motor circuit.
We're just seeing Tadej Pogacar have a bike change. The last time he did one of those he won the Tour de France, so its not necessarily a bad thing – despite coming late on in the race.
65km to go – Things are heating up
France are looking to dominate the next phase of this bike race. They have spirited up a whole phalanx of domestiques and they are booking it on the front of the peloton. The bunch are on the easier part of this course at the moment, but they are looking to make things as hard as possible.
The breakaway, meanwhile, have had their fun. Tips of the hat to Koch and Traeen, they gave it a good go.
70km to go – More abandons
Hugh Carthy will be a disappointing loss for Team GB, while erstwhile breakawayer Ulises Ernesto Castillo, Nic Dlamini and Silain Dillier have all also thrown in the towel.
Quentin Pacher and Nans Peters of France have come to the front of the peloton. This is the first sign of intent we've seen from any of the big teams. They are on their way up the Gallisterna, the tougher of the circuit's two steep climbs, and we are seeing yellow jersey winner Tadej Pogacar apparently working in the service of the man from whom he took the maillot jaune, Primoz Roglic.
75km to go – Attack from Kuznetsov
The Russian rider has just gently ridden off the front of the peloton and nobody in the bunch really batted an eye. He's not what you'd call 'a marquee name', Kuznetsov, plying his trade at Gazprom.
His attack tempts two more bodies our of the peloton, but the Danish riders leading the chase don't seem inclined to let them go.
78km to go – Attrition rate starting to bite
Lawson Craddock, Luka Pibernik and Marc Soler have all abandoned at this point in the race. It's a tough course and many riders will be here simply to 'do a job' and then get back into the team car as fast as they can.
85km to go – Michael Schar puts the hammer down
The Swiss rider from CCC Team hit the front of the peloton as it went over the top of the Gallisterna and the subsequent injection of pace immediately took a minute chunk out of the break's lead. The aim here is to make the race as hard as they can and – presumably – play to the strengths of their leader, who you'd think would be Tour de France stage winner, Marc Hirschi.
The peloton is really strung out now as we near the end of the sixth lap.
95km to go – Just two left
The break has rather broken up now, with just Jonas Koch and Torstein Træen at the head of proceedings. They still have a healthy chunk of time, 4'16", but it simply won't be enough.
When the elite women raced yesterday, a gap slightly smaller than that seemed to evaporate under the chasing efforts of Marianne Vos and the rest of the Dutch squad. Once the serious contenders put their feet down today I think we'll see something similar.
105km to go – Rog and Pog in attendance
Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland are the most prominent jerseys at the front of the bunch. The guys who placed first and second in the Tour last weekend could both easily win this race – and to see the pair of them competing together is a delicious prospect.
114km to go – Lunch. Break.
Our little bunch of leaders are taking this opportunity to get some scran in them before the hammer properly drops. The peloton are on the race track part of the course, coming up to the end of their fifth lap.
Denmark have been expending a lot of energy on the front of the peloton so far today. Their best hope of a win is Jakob Fuglsang, but he claims to just be here for training purposes.
The reigning world champion (at least reigning up until this race began) is, of course, a Dane, but Mads Pedersen took one look at the 5,000m of elevation on the menu today and decided to give this year a skip. Which all leads us to the question of just exactly what these Danes think they're doing?
138km to go – Feeding time
Riders are getting a feed at the moment and the pace remains benign. The race should erupt into life on the last three or four laps of this jagged, saw-tooth profile.
Friedrich has been dropped from the break, reducing their number to six.
Wout's to lose?
The bookies have Wout van Aert as the favourite today, but there are so many riders who could or might win.
Alaphilippe, Hirschi, Fuglsang, Roglic, Pogacar, Valverde, Woods, Kwiatkowski.... pick one, any one.
157km to go – A tough one to call
166km to go – The break
The peloton has already done three of the eight laps and an escape of seven has made it up the road. They got away right from the gun and have 5'16" of an advantage.
Included in the break are Jonas Koch, Torstein Traen, Marco Friedrich, Daniil Fominykh, Yukiya Arashiro, Eduard-Michael Grosu and Ulises Alfredo Castillo.
The peloton will tackle nine laps in total of a punishingly hard circuit today, starting and finishing on the famous motorsport track in Imola. More exciting that what happens at the end though, is what happens in the middle; two absolute shinbreakers in the form of the Mazzolano and the Cima Gallisterna. The men's peloton will rack up 5,000 m of elevation gain today across the 258km route.
Yesterday the combination of hard climbing and beautiful scenery created a picturesque and dominant win for Anna van der Breggen and the Netherlands.
Sensational Van der Breggen takes second World Championships gold
And welcome to the live blog from the men's road race at the Imola World Championships!