Aside from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the 2014 Spring Classics were raced in some of the most pleasant weather of recent years, and the balmy temperatures in Europe over the winter produced a peloton brimming with form.
Yet form alone doesn't win Classics, and luck is just as important as any sort of preparation. Just ask Ian Stannard, who gave Team Sky it's first Classic of 2014, but then suffered a number of crashes, the last of which in Gent-Wevelgem left him out for weeks with a fractured vertebrae.
Tom Boonen gave Omega Pharma-Quickstep the victory in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but was nearly overtaken by Belkin's Moreno Hofland in the sprint. Few would have guessed this would be Boonen's last win of the cobbled Classics.
Niki Terpstra's Dwars door Vlaanderen solo victory was only a foreshadowing of what would come at the end of the team's campaign. The Dutch rider was the team's most consistent performer, and while he was not the odds on favourite for Paris-Roubaix, Terpstra was only too willing and extremely able to finish off the Classics with the cobble trophy.
In between, E3 Harelbeke proved to be the only success for Peter Sagan (Cannondale), but not for lack of trying. Sagan attacked relentlessly throughout the spring, and perhaps with better timing he will add a Monument to his palmares.
John Degenkolb proved he's more than just a pure sprinter by surviving the rapid-fire attacks on the hellingen from the cobble masters, and then dusting the 30-strong peloton in the sprint. He followed up with pure class with the second place finish in Paris-Roubaix.
The Tour of Flanders may have been Fabian Cancellara's sole win of the 2014 campaign, but 12 podium placings in the past 12 Monuments chalks his name up in the list off all-time Classics greats.
We've picked out 50 photos from Tim De Waele from the cobbled Classics for our latest gallery.
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