Images: Yuzuru Sunada
Philippe Gilbert has been virtually unstoppable in 2011, to say nothing of his stellar second half of 2010. His victories came early at the Volta ao Algave, Montepaschi Strade Bianche and with stages in Tirreno-Adriatico. While he missed out on the top step of the podium at the first two monuments of the season, Milano-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, Gilbert was among the principal animators in each race.
It was during the Ardennes classics that the Belgian left no doubt about his supremacy. Gilbert took not only the "Ardennes Triple" with the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but a handy win at the Brabantse Pijl semi-classic made it four in a row.
Why stop there? The Tour of Belgium, the national road race championship, and a Tour de France marked by a stage win and stints in the green, polka dot, and yellow jerseys along the way capped an incredible first half of the season.
Yuzuru Sunada's images highlight just some of Gilbert's many impressive performances of 2011.