Vincenzo Nibali held off a late charge to claim victory in the Milan-San Remo, where Mark Cavendish's torrid 2018 season continued with a spectacular crash.
Not since Filippo Pozzato in 2006 had an Italian won the first Monument of the season and Nibali was a popular champion on Saturday as he crossed the line arms aloft in familiar fashion after almost seven hours and 20 minutes of racing.
The Bahrain-Merida man finished ahead of Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), while there were concerns for Cavendish's welfare after the Dimension Data rider suffered a heavy fall with around 10 kilometres of the 294km-route remaining.
Cavendish collided with a bollard in the centre of the road and was thrown over his handlebars before landing painfully on his back.
Shortly after the conclusion of the race, Dimension Data tweeted to say that Cavendish "is currently being assessed by a medical team. More information will be provided when available."
It was the third accident in as many outings for the Briton this year, after he was forced out of the Abu Dhabi Tour in February and then sustained a broken rib and facial injuries at the Tirreno-Adriatico this month.
Having begun the race amid a torrential downpour, the peloton enjoyed far milder conditions as they travelled further south and Nibali attacked going up the Poggio, the final climb of the route.
The pack began to cut his lead as the gradient eased on the descent, but the man known as the Shark of Messina gritted his teeth and held on to claim a hard-earned success.
Nibali said: "It was all day water, rain, rain, rain, my sensations were very good, but I was working with Sonny Colbrelli and in the last 15 kilometres I had really good sensations.
"On the Poggio I worked with Colbrelli, but in the last five kilometres I only followed the other rider. When my on my radio the director spoke with me and he said '20 seconds', I only thought 'full gas'. It's a fantastic day for me."
22. September 2018
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|Neymar is the Kim Kardashian of football, claims Barton|
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|Osaka continues run, Pliskova awaits in Tokyo final|
|Cardinals keep pace in wildcard race with win over Giants|
|Djokovic hits Federer, pair lose in doubles at Laver Cup|
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|Red Wings´ Green battling ´virus that attacked his liver´|
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|Slater charged, set to miss Grand Final|
|Rose not changing approach alongside Woods|
|Woods ready to ´hang in there´ at East Lake|
|Shaqiri´s time will come at Liverpool – Klopp|
|Richarlison: I used to copy some of Neymar´s haircuts|
|Brady says Gordon is ´really eager to get in there´ despite limited practice|
|NBA changes clock-reset, ´clear path´ foul rules|
|Tigers´ Martinez will play final game on Saturday before retiring|
|Sanchez to start for Man United – Mourinho|
|Speight saves Ulster in thrilling Cheetahs draw|
|Simmonds at the double as Chiefs stay perfect|
|Woods, Rose share Tour Championship lead|
|Ice-cool Shoaib denies Afghanistan in final over|
|CAF Champions League Review: Wydad Casablanca out as TP Mazembe pay penalty|
21. September 2018
|Eden inspires rout as Castleford book Wigan semi-final|
|Thiem & Wawrinka reach St. Petersburg semi-finals|
|No change to Aguero selection despite new contract, warns Guardiola|
|Woods and Rose share Tour Championship lead|
|Wigan Athletic 1 Bristol City 0: Three on the trot for improving Latics|
|Josh Rosen will play ´when time is right,´ Cardinals GM says|
|Eagles RBs Ajayi & Sproles out Sunday v Colts|
|Ronaldo looking forward after Champions League red card - Alex Sandro|
|Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister after four seasons|
|Inter captain Icardi can improve - Spalletti|
|Jadeja and Rohit shine as India maintain 100 per cent record|
|Fisher shares lead in Vilamoura after record-breaking 59|
|Messi the best I´ve seen - Lamela|
|Silva demands end to Gomes ´rumours´ and targets early October return|
|Milner over Pogba, says Souness|
|Brazil call up Malcom, drop Thiago Silva and Willian|
|Denly thought Test chance may never come|
|Benitez tells FA to examine Zaha red card comments|
|Bjorn unsure of future after Ryder Cup|
|Tebas still optimistic over Girona-Barcelona in Miami despite RFEF setback|
|Emery promises more chances for frustrated Leno|
|Cahill considering Chelsea departure in January|
|Kaepernick to receive Harvard´s highest honour in African, African-American studies|
|Defending champion Ostapenko dumped out of Korea Open|
|Mourinho is an inspiration - Nuno|
|Witty Wilson ´delighted´ to be praised for Fisher heroics while sitting on couch|
|Burns, Denly and Stone in England squad for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Aspas reveals interest from Real Madrid, Atletico|
|Arsenal´s Mkhitaryan a doubt for Everton match|
|Klopp demands Liverpool ´stay angry´ against Southampton|
|Long-serving Tabarez signs four-year Uruguay extension|
|Injured Mendy ruled out of Cardiff trip|
|Douglas Costa out up to a month with ankle & thigh injuries|
|Slater shrugs off Feki hit amid Grand Final suspension concerns|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp unconcerned by Salah form|
|I didn´t convince him, he decided for himself - Guardiola says thanks to Aguero|
|Leno frustrated by Arsenal bench role|
|Joshua almost 2st heavier than Povetkin for Wembley bout|
|From salvation to the record books - Fisher revels in European Tour´s first 59|
|Lahm says Germany best for Euro 2024 as UEFA publishes report|
|Lopetegui backs Modric over Ronaldo for individual prizes|
|Goretzka to start against former club Schalke, confirms Kovac|
|Fisher shoots first 59 in European Tour history|
|Simeone defends Ronaldo after controversial Champions League red|
|Slater sees Storm into Grand Final, awaits fate over ´shoulder charge´|
|Hogg to miss Scotland´s November Tests following ankle surgery|
|Osaka through as Azarenka and Garcia crash out|