Juan Antonio Flecha was fourth and Mathew Hayman eighth as Team Sky produced a strong all-round display at Paris-Roubaix which was won in imperious fashion by Tom Boonen.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Boonen produced a magnificent solo performance to win the 'Queen of the Classics' for the fourth time, completing this season's Tour of Flanders - Roubaix double to underline the dominant Classics form which has seen him rack up a series of victories in recent weeks.
He made his initial move fully 58 kilometres from home, with team-mate Niki Terpstra then jumping out of the pack as the two took off. Yet with Terpstra blowing shortly after, Boonen was on his own for over 50km.
Team Sky had taken up the chase behind and could hardly have been in a better position, with strength in numbers in the front group in the shape of Classics strong men Flecha, Hayman, Ian Stannard and Edvald Boasson Hagen.
But despite a great team performance with huge turns on the front from first Stannard and then Hayman, they were unable to bridge the gap on Boonen who was 46 seconds to the good with 35km remaining and heading into the final 10km his lead was up to nearly a minute and a half.
Rewards for Flecha and Hayman
Other teams had been reluctant to help Team Sky try and close the gap but the proactive Flecha, just weeks after hand surgery, worked his way into a three-man chase group which was vying for the minor placings along with two other riders who joined them in the famous Roubaix velodrome.
While Boonen was able to savour a memorable triumph, eventually crossing the line one minute and 42 seconds ahead, the batle for the podium places was playing out behind him.
It was Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) who took second place by the narrowest possible margin from Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) with Flecha adding a fourth place to his impressive list of top five finishes in the 'Hell of the North'.
Hayman too had been in the mix throughout and he was rewarded with eighth, his highest place so far in what is widely regarded as the most prestigious Monument of all.
Fourth spot was a result of mixed emotions for Flecha, who narrowly missed out on the podium, yet was competing only weeks after having surgery on a broken hand.
The Spaniard said: "We tried and did everything possible. But in the end there was one man above everyone. It wasn’t easy to bring him back but everybody on Team Sky should be proud of our race and the way we rode.
"I nearly missed this race. Five weeks ago I got surgery for a broken bone so I didn’t know what my chances were. I knew that I just needed to try my best and that’s what I did. Fourth place was the result. Congratulations to Tom Boonen."
Sports Director Steven de Jongh was proud of the way the team rode, adding: "When [Sylvain] Chavanel had a flat tyre Boonen went straight away. There was no one to counter against Terpstra. I think there we lost the race as we had the numbers but we had to chase. There was no collaboration behind us. Maybe the other teams were riding for second place but we tried to keep him within distance."
Fellow DS Servais Knaven continued: "When we saw that the gap was raising we tried to send Flecha ahead. It was great to see the guys up there in numbers but at some points in the race that was actually a disadvantage for us. Flecha was super strong and he deserved to be on the podium today."
Earlier, after a fast start to proceedings, a group of 12 riders opened out of a gap of 4:10 as the race hit the first section of cobbles, sending dust flying.
Team Sky moved to the front to keep tabs on the break with some strong early work done by Chris Sutton, Jeremy Hunt and Bernhard Eisel. The first five-star sector of pave saw the first significant action of the day as a crash 30 riders back caused a hefty split in the bunch on Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes.
With 100km to go things came back together to allow the peloton some time to regroup before hitting the Arenberg trench. The infamous stretch bit hard in the break as Grischa Janorschke (NetApp) lost control, crashing hard to take out a number of his fellow escapees.
After significant attacks from Flecha and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) the scene was set for Boonen, who put the power down on the Orchies sector and would never be caught.