Milan (AFP) - Slovenian Primoz Roglic won Saturday's Giro dell'Emilia, to position himself as favourite for next week's Tour of Lombardy.
World number one Roglic followed on from his recent success in the Vuelta a Espana, with a solo break in the 207km race around Bologna in the north of Italy.
Roglic broke clear on the final climb of five up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca overlooking the city.
The Slovenian had also won the prologue of the Giro d'Italia this year on the hill of San Luca, wearing the pink jersey.
The Jumbo-Visma rider overtook Michael Woods of the Education First team with 800 metres to go before crossing the line alone 15sec ahead of the Canadian.
"We can all be very happy with today's result. This victory would not have been possible without my teammates," said the champion.
Tour de france winner Egan Bernal finished in ninth position, 28sec off the pace.
The Italian classic races conclude with the Tour of Lombardy, the fifth and final 'Monument' of the season, on Sunday week.
1. Primoz Roglic (SVN/Jumbo-Visma) 5hr 08min 08sec (average: 40.39 km/h), 2. Michael Woods (CAN/Education First) at 0:15sec, 3. Sergio Higuita (COL/Education First) same time, 4. Bauke Mollema (NED/Trek-Segafredo) at 0:17, 5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/Movistar) s.t.
9. Egan Bernal (COL/Team Ineos) at 0:28sec