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Picture gallery: the 2011 Spring Classics

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Tour of Flanders: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) looks to have the gap on the Bosberg, but he would eventually be closed down.

Tour of Flanders: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) looks to have the gap on the Bosberg, but he would eventually be closed down.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert in conference with the Schleck brothers.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert in conference with the Schleck brothers.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) took an unexpected but deserved victory.

Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) took an unexpected but deserved victory.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Filippo Pozzato's race ended when his team car punctured.

Paris-Roubaix: Filippo Pozzato's race ended when his team car punctured.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) leads world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo).

Paris-Roubaix: Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) leads world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Hell is for heroes. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) had nothing but bad luck on the road to Roubaix.

Paris-Roubaix: Hell is for heroes. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) had nothing but bad luck on the road to Roubaix.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) makes his move.

Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) makes his move.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) can't hide his delight in the velodrome.

Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) can't hide his delight in the velodrome.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren got engaged within minutes of winning the race.

Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren got engaged within minutes of winning the race.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Flat out. Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) had to settle for second in Roubaix.

Paris-Roubaix: Flat out. Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) had to settle for second in Roubaix.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: The key moment of the race? Alessandro Ballan and Thor Hushovd refuse to work with Fabian Cancellara.

Paris-Roubaix: The key moment of the race? Alessandro Ballan and Thor Hushovd refuse to work with Fabian Cancellara.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Brabançonne: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gets win number one of four.

Flèche Brabançonne: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gets win number one of four.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Brabançonne: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) broke clear in the finale.

Flèche Brabançonne: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) broke clear in the finale.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Amstel Gold Race: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) makes his winning move on the Cauberg.

Amstel Gold Race: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) makes his winning move on the Cauberg.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) completes his hat-trick.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) completes his hat-trick.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert goes on the offensive on the Saint-Nicholas.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert goes on the offensive on the Saint-Nicholas.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Wallone: Philippe Gilbert had ample time to savour his win.

Flèche Wallone: Philippe Gilbert had ample time to savour his win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Wallone: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and the Schleck brothers on the Mur de Huy.

Flèche Wallone: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and the Schleck brothers on the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Wallone: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) grinds up the Mur de Huy.

Flèche Wallone: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) grinds up the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Wallone: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) knows he has the win in the bag.

Flèche Wallone: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) knows he has the win in the bag.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Amstel Gold Race: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was a worthy winner.

Amstel Gold Race: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was a worthy winner.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Amstel Gold Race: A family affair for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

Amstel Gold Race: A family affair for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Amstel Gold Race: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) couldn't break Philippe Gilbert.

Amstel Gold Race: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) couldn't break Philippe Gilbert.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) saw his Hell of the North dreams dashed in the Forest of Arenberg.

Paris-Roubaix: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) saw his Hell of the North dreams dashed in the Forest of Arenberg.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) struggles to lift his prize.

Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) struggles to lift his prize.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Scheldeprijs: Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) took his third win in the event.

Scheldeprijs: Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) took his third win in the event.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gent-Wevelgem: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sprints to victory.

Gent-Wevelgem: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sprints to victory.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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E3 Prijs: Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) would recover spectacularly from his mechanical trouble.

E3 Prijs: Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) would recover spectacularly from his mechanical trouble.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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E3 Prijs: Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) was a marked man after his win in Harelbeke.

E3 Prijs: Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) was a marked man after his win in Harelbeke.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) pipped Geraint Thomas (Sky) in Waregem.

Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) pipped Geraint Thomas (Sky) in Waregem.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) follows Geraint Thomas (Sky) in the finale.

Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) follows Geraint Thomas (Sky) in the finale.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Milan-San Remo: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek) and Yoann Offredo (FDJ) formed a dangerous break on the descent of the Cipressa.

Milan-San Remo: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek) and Yoann Offredo (FDJ) formed a dangerous break on the descent of the Cipressa.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Milan-San Remo: Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) motors up to the front group on the Cipressa.

Milan-San Remo: Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) motors up to the front group on the Cipressa.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Milan-San Remo: Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) rode an intelligent race to triumph on the Lungomare Italo Calvino.

Milan-San Remo: Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) rode an intelligent race to triumph on the Lungomare Italo Calvino.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Milan-San Remo: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was still suffering the effects of illness on the Poggio.

Milan-San Remo: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was still suffering the effects of illness on the Poggio.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) leads Ian Stannard (Sky), Peter Sagan and Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas-Cannondale). They would be caught close to the line.

Tour of Flanders: Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) leads Ian Stannard (Sky), Peter Sagan and Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas-Cannondale). They would be caught close to the line.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Yoann Offredo's promising spring was cut short after he fell with Leonardo Duque at the end of the race.

Tour of Flanders: Yoann Offredo's promising spring was cut short after he fell with Leonardo Duque at the end of the race.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gent-Wevelgem: French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was aggressive in Belgium this spring.

Gent-Wevelgem: French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was aggressive in Belgium this spring.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara made no secret of his form ahead of De Ronde. Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen keep a watchful eye on him.

Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara made no secret of his form ahead of De Ronde. Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen keep a watchful eye on him.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara and Sylvain Chavanel are about to be caught on the slopes of the Muur, as Philippe Gilbert charges around the corner behind.

Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara and Sylvain Chavanel are about to be caught on the slopes of the Muur, as Philippe Gilbert charges around the corner behind.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara's momentum would stall on the approach to the Muur.

Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara's momentum would stall on the approach to the Muur.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) was on cue at the Ronde.

Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) was on cue at the Ronde.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) was the toast of Flanders after his win.

Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) was the toast of Flanders after his win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara leads Sylvain Chavanel in their two-up break.

Tour of Flanders: Fabian Cancellara leads Sylvain Chavanel in their two-up break.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: A failure to hydrate properly would cost Fabian Cancellara dearly.

Tour of Flanders: A failure to hydrate properly would cost Fabian Cancellara dearly.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens outsprints Chavanel and Cancellara in Meerbeke, while Tom Boonen launches a desperate bid from the chase group.

Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens outsprints Chavanel and Cancellara in Meerbeke, while Tom Boonen launches a desperate bid from the chase group.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was the king of spring.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was the king of spring.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Philippe Gilbert’s winning sprint on the Côte de Ans on Sunday brought the curtain down on what has been a spectacular Classics season. From Milan-San Remo through to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the past five weeks have seen some memorable performances, from established stars and break-out talents alike.

Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) held his nerve to take the sprint from a very elite eight-man group at the end of a pulsating edition of Milan-San Remo and that thrilling race would set the tone for the remainder of the Spring.

While Fabian Cancellara’s crushing display the following weekend at the E3 Prijs appeared to be an ominous portent of what was to come, the Swiss rider was not to have it all his own way on the cobbles, as Nick Nuyens and Johan Van Summeren took surprising but thoroughly deserved wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

If the cobbled classics saw the outsiders come out on top, the hierarchy was firmly re-established in the Ardennes, as Philippe Gilbert stamped his authority all over Flèche Brabançonne, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège to take an unprecedented quadruple.

For an exclusive gallery of the best of the action from the Spring’s racing, click here.