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Gallery: The best of the cobbled Classics

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Belgian flags over the finale of Gent-Wevelgem

Belgian flags over the finale of Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Icy cold and wet conditions selected for the heartiest riders. Ian Stannard (Sky) topped Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in a two-man sprint

Icy cold and wet conditions selected for the heartiest riders. Ian Stannard (Sky) topped Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in a two-man sprint
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Niki Terpstra's solo win in Dwars door Vlaanderen was no fluke.

Niki Terpstra's solo win in Dwars door Vlaanderen was no fluke.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen continued his tradition of testing his legs on the Taaienberg

Tom Boonen continued his tradition of testing his legs on the Taaienberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) showed up for some Classics and put on a good show in the Dwars door Vlaanderen.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) showed up for some Classics and put on a good show in the Dwars door Vlaanderen.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cars parked on the course can sometimes suffer the consequences.

Cars parked on the course can sometimes suffer the consequences.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geraint Thomas (Sky) showed he has what it takes on the cobbles

Geraint Thomas (Sky) showed he has what it takes on the cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Luca Paolini did a ton of work in the Classics but came away empty handed for himself

Luca Paolini did a ton of work in the Classics but came away empty handed for himself
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) showed his speed is back in E3 Harelbeke

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) showed his speed is back in E3 Harelbeke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders at the back can't even see the front of the race in the E3 Harelbeke

The riders at the back can't even see the front of the race in the E3 Harelbeke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) took the E3 Harelbeke by the scruff of its neck

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) took the E3 Harelbeke by the scruff of its neck
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fans close in on the riders as they cheer Jurgen Roelandts in the E3 Harelbeke

Fans close in on the riders as they cheer Jurgen Roelandts in the E3 Harelbeke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The narrow roads of the Classics make support difficult. Teams scatter crews around the course.

The narrow roads of the Classics make support difficult. Teams scatter crews around the course.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cycling's Classics are as popular as ever in Belgium

Cycling's Classics are as popular as ever in Belgium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg Van Avermaet was devastated and frozen after losing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Greg Van Avermaet was devastated and frozen after losing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) showed his form in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) showed his form in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Ian Stannard rides the gutter in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Ian Stannard rides the gutter in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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2013 Milan-Sanremo winner Gerald Ciolek didn't bother with leg warmers despite the cold in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

2013 Milan-Sanremo winner Gerald Ciolek didn't bother with leg warmers despite the cold in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A crash in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad signalled Heinrich Haussler's luck has not changed.

A crash in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad signalled Heinrich Haussler's luck has not changed.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Omega Pharma-QuickStep took control of the Classics from start to finish

Omega Pharma-QuickStep took control of the Classics from start to finish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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In Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Tom Boonen was surprised by the speed of Moreno Hofland of Belkin, but managed to win

In Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Tom Boonen was surprised by the speed of Moreno Hofland of Belkin, but managed to win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne podium was Belkin's top performance

The Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne podium was Belkin's top performance
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Belgium was as scenic as ever for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

Belgium was as scenic as ever for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A debate about the UCI rules on avoiding cobbles was ignited by Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

A debate about the UCI rules on avoiding cobbles was ignited by Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan wins E3 Harelbeke

Peter Sagan wins E3 Harelbeke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) surprised with his performance in Gent-Wevelgem

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) surprised with his performance in Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Devolder was involved in crash after crash in Tour of Flanders.

Stijn Devolder was involved in crash after crash in Tour of Flanders.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sep Vanmarcke lets the disappointment show after Tour of Flanders

Sep Vanmarcke lets the disappointment show after Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was overjoyed with second in Paris-Roubaix

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was overjoyed with second in Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Niki Terpstra shows that Dwars door Vlaanderen was only a foreshadowing for Paris-Roubaix

Niki Terpstra shows that Dwars door Vlaanderen was only a foreshadowing for Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The dust of the cobbles in one of the most pleasant Classics seasons in years

The dust of the cobbles in one of the most pleasant Classics seasons in years
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen showed he had the form, but not the cooperation to win Paris-Roubaix

Tom Boonen showed he had the form, but not the cooperation to win Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cobbles take a toll on the hands.

Cobbles take a toll on the hands.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan was one of the most aggressive riders of the Classics season

Peter Sagan was one of the most aggressive riders of the Classics season
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara may have not won Paris-Roubaix, but has more success in his little finger than most riders have in their whole hand.

Fabian Cancellara may have not won Paris-Roubaix, but has more success in his little finger than most riders have in their whole hand.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bradley Wiggins seemed rejuvenated by Paris-Roubaix

Bradley Wiggins seemed rejuvenated by Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Björn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) showed he still has the class of a World Tour rider.

Björn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) showed he still has the class of a World Tour rider.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on the Koppenberg

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on the Koppenberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) tried to make a selection on the Kemmelberg in Gent-Wevelgem

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) tried to make a selection on the Kemmelberg in Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen's thumb - nearly as famous as his elbow.

Tom Boonen's thumb - nearly as famous as his elbow.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Devolder (Trek) showed sparks of his old form in Gent-Wevelgem

Stijn Devolder (Trek) showed sparks of his old form in Gent-Wevelgem
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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85% of television viewers watched the Tour of Flanders. The rest of Belgium was at the race.

85% of television viewers watched the Tour of Flanders. The rest of Belgium was at the race.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Andrey Amador showed Movistar's presence in the Belgian races

Andrey Amador showed Movistar's presence in the Belgian races
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geraint Thomas, like the Energizer bunny, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Geraint Thomas, like the Energizer bunny, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh attacked the heck out of Tour of Flanders, but came away without a podium finish

Stijn Vandenbergh attacked the heck out of Tour of Flanders, but came away without a podium finish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Taylor Phinney (BMC) showed his class in the Tour of Flanders breakaway

Taylor Phinney (BMC) showed his class in the Tour of Flanders breakaway
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Stijn Vandenbergh muscles up the Taaienberg

Stijn Vandenbergh muscles up the Taaienberg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara showed he is a better sprinter than most think

Fabian Cancellara showed he is a better sprinter than most think
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC's luck was pretty dismal in Paris-Roubaix

BMC's luck was pretty dismal in Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tyler Farrar wins the bunch sprint for second in Dwars door Vlaanderen

Tyler Farrar wins the bunch sprint for second in Dwars door Vlaanderen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

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.