Picture gallery: the 2011 Spring Classics

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.

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