European 5,000m silver medallist Mo Farah became only the second Briton to lift the European cross-country men's title with a stunning win in Italy.
Farah led Britain's junior cross country team to gold in 1999
He hit the front just after the start of the final 1,920m circuit and blazed his way to victory in the 9,950m race.
The 23-year-old won by seven seconds in 27mins 56secs from Portugal's Fernando Silva and Spaniard Juan de la Ossa.
Farah led Britain to fourth place in the team event, with France taking the title from Portugal and Spain.
Farah is the first British winner of the event since Jon Brown triumphed in Charleroi in 1996.
He was born in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, but came to live in the UK when he was 11 years old.
"I felt confident but struggled a little at the start, they were all bunching so I just decided to sit in and wait," said Farah.
"I've had to work hard for this goal and to achieve this and I spent a month preparing in South Africa."
Ukraine's Sergiy Lebid had won the title for the last five years but was never in contention at San Giorgio su Legnano, near Milan, fading badly to finish 12th.
Farah added: "At the bell Lebid didn't do anything, so I followed the other guys then found myself at the front.
"I thought 'You might as well just push now'."
Hayley Yelling, the 2004 champion, was the best British finisher in the women's race, coming home sixth in 25mins 28secs.
Jo Pavey finished two places behind in 25mins 28secs, saying: "It was too hard for me, I shall have to toughen up."
Ukraine's Tatyana Golovchenko was first in 25:17, edging out Russia's Mariya Konovalova and Serbia's Olivera Jevtic.
Yelling said: "I gave it my best but it was just too hard for me - I shall have toughen up."
There were some encouraging performances amongst the British juniors with Stephanie Twell, 17, winning the individual girls' title over 4,100m.
Emily Pidgeon came fourth, Sian Edwards was sixth with Abby Westley 10th to ensure the team retained their title and scored a fifth in the event's history.