Team Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha was a fine third behind runaway winner Fabian Cancellara in the 108th edition of Paris-Roubaix, the 'Queen of the Classics'.
Swiss star Cancellara (Saxo Bank) became the tenth man to complete the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix double following his equally impressive victory in the Belgian classic the week before.
He made his move with just under 50km to go in the 259km race when he powered to the front on section ten of the cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle.
Producing a stunning burst of acceleration he quickly opened up a clear advantage from an eight-man chase group.
That lead stretched to over three minutes at one point and never looked like being bridged which left the rest of the field to battle for the other two podium positions in a race also known as the 'Hell of the North'.
And it was Flecha, the runner up in 2007 and third in 2005, who forced that issue.
He first attacked with 24km to go but it was his second move with 12km remaining which proved decisive as only Thor Hushovd (Cervélo) was able to stay with him.
That pair worked well together all the way to the legendary Roubaix Velodrome, with Hushovd sprinting into second in the closing stages.
Cancellara, who also won Paris-Roubaix in 2006, had a cushion of exactly two minutes ahead of both Hushovd and Flecha, and that after easing down on what was effectively a lap of honour.
There was a further minute and 14 seconds back to Roger Hammond who just collared three-time winner and defending champion Tom Boonen for fourth place.
"After 200km people are looking at each other a bit," said Flecha afterwards, explaining what happened when Cancellara launched his race-winning attack. "When he went he opened the gap and he was away. And then he gave everything.
"I'm really happy about what I've done," continued Flecha. "With the team we did really well. Everyone was committed, everyone gave their best, and I think they were all enjoying Roubaix.
"In the end I knew Fabian would be really hard to get back, so I had to really fight for what I got. And I have to be happy with that."
That was echoed by Senior Sports Director Scott Sunderland who said of Flecha's display: "It was an awesome ride. You couldn't ask for more - he did everything he could but Cancellara was in a league of his own."
Mathew Hayman and Michael Barry had been prominent virtually throughout with Flecha until both suffered punctures within 5km of each other and their finishing positions of 24th and 26th respectively didn't fully reflect their efforts.
Geraint Thomas was 64th while Greg Henderson and CJ Sutton, both of whom were in a 19-man breakaway for a large chunk of the race, came home in 65th and 69th respectively.