Britain's Mo Farah was out-sprinted by Sergiy Lebid over 4km in the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country event at Holyrood Park on Saturday.
The improving Farah will represent Britain at the Worlds in March
The Ukrainian stalked the European 5,000m silver medallist from halfway before striking in the final 200m.
The women's 6.7km race was won by Ethiopa's defending champ Gelete Burka.
And there was further success for Ethiopa when world number one Kenenisa Bekele claimed victory against an elite field in the men's 9.3km race.
The five-time world champion produced one of the most amazing displays ever seen at this level when, with three laps remaining, he switched into top gear and left his opponents flat-footed.
The 24-year-old Olympic and world 10,000m champion extended his sequence of cross-country victories to 26 since losing to Haile Gebrselassie in December 2001.
[Lebid] was on my shoulder the whole way and he was better on the day
"It was a good beginning to 2007," said Bekele, who won in 28 minutes, 14 seconds.
"I am very happy that I won my first race of the year. I expected it because of the training I have done."
Olympic 10,000m bronze-medallist Zersenay Tadesse Zersenay was runner-up in 28mins 24secs with Eliud Kipchoge, the 2005 champion, third in 28mins 51secs.
Burka ran a more conservative race that Bekele but was almost as impressive.
She used her taller rivals for shelter in the gale-force conditions and waited until the last kilometre before making a decisive move.
The reigning world cross-country short course champion powered away from compatriot Meselech Melkamu and Australia's Benita Johnson on the last hill.
Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya stormed through in the last 400m to grab second place ahead of Johnson.
The men's short race was the closest contest of the day, with Lebid, who was deprived of a seventh European cross-country crown by Farah last month, beating his rival by a second.
"He was on my shoulder the whole way," said Farah. "And he was better on the day."
Britain's Mike Skinner, runner-up for the last two years, finished a distant third.