Belgian Philippe Gilbert won his fourth race in a row as his hot streak continued with victory in Saturday's Tour of Lombardy over 242km from Varese to Como.
Gilbert beat breakaway companion and Spanish Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez in a two-man sprint to win the last Classic of the season with Russian Alexandre Kolobnev winning the sprint for third, four seconds back.
Gilbert had already emerged victorious at the Paris-Tours a week ago as well as Thursday's Tour of Piemonte and the Coppa Sabatini 10 days ago.
"Fantastic. It's incredible because I thought these races were too hard for me but when I'm in this form, I can win them," said the 27-year-old Silence-Lotto rider.
He made his move 6km from home on the final climb of the day at the San Fermo della Battaglia after his team-mate, Australian world champion Cadel Evans, had worked hard to neutralise an attack from Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov.
The day began with a four-man break that opened up a seven-minute lead with 130km still to ride in inclement weather.
Ahead of the penultimate climb another small group opened up a 30sec lead on the peloton.
At the foot of that climb Vinokourov made his move to the front, joining Mauro Santambrogio and Gustav Larsson.
The trio were hauled back by Evans and Robert Gesink before Gilbert made his move, with only Sanchez able to go with him this time.
The pair had a few seconds advantage as they went over the final summit with 5.7km still to race and edged a little further ahead on the descent before fighting out the victory beside Lake Como.
© AFP 2009
|1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel|Silence - Lotto)||5:43:45|
|2 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa|Euskaltel - Euskadi)|
|3 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus|Team Saxo Bank)||0:00:07|
|4 Luca Paolini (Ita|Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo)||0:00:08|
|5 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned|Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)|
|6 Robert Gesink (Ned|Rabobank)|
|7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz|Astana)|
|8 Daniel Martin (Irl|Garmin - Slipstream)|
|9 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa|Fuji-Servetto)|
|10 Cadel Evans (Aus|Silence - Lotto)|
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.