Australian Simon Gerrans was almost in tears after finishing second in the men's elite road race at the UCI Road World Championships.
Gerrans led a six-man sprint but it was only good enough for the silver medal as Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski broke away with eighth kilometres remaining to win the rainbow jersey in the Spanish city of Ponferrada on Sunday.
A multiple stage winner at the Tour de France, Gerrans appeared to be closing in on the championship but Kwiatkowski timed his run to perfection during the closing moments of the 254.8-km trek.
Prior to the race, a confident Gerrans said Sunday was his best chance of winning gold in Ponferrada, so he was understandably devastated afterwards.
"To be honest with you, I felt like I wanted to cry when I crossed the finish line," said Gerrans, who crossed the line ahead of rival Alejandro Valverde.
"To be so close to the world title and to see it slip away in the final few kilometres ... I knew I had good legs.
"If things had unfolded a little bit differently in the final I could have been racing for the victory."
Gerrans added: "I think I haven't got too many regrets with the way I raced today. As I said earlier I was beaten by a strong rider with better tactics.
"Tactically he [Kwiatkowski] rode a fantastic race and he was strong enough to back that up and stay away, so he was a worthy winner.
"All in all, I'm happy with the way I raced. But to come second in a big race like this, especially a Worlds, is disappointing in a way too."