The spring classics are done and dusted, albeit with one of the highlights of the early season, Paris-Roubaix, shunted back to October.
It has been a tumultuous block of more-or-less 10 weeks of continuous one-day action (with, of course, a liberal sprinkling of gritty stage racing too).
But which teams have emerged from the start to this season smelling of roses, and which have fewer reasons to be cheerful – or even causes for concern – at the end of the 2021 spring campaign?
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Deceuninck-QuickStep

Them being the best-performing team of the spring is almost taken as a given at this point, with their cannibalistic approach to hunting victory. The self-styled Wolfpack got its campaign off to a dream start when Davide Ballerini won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on opening weekend, before continuing its marauding march through the one-day season with wins from breakout star of the year so far, Kasper Asgreen. The Dane took E3 in spectacular style before doing what we all thought was the impossible by outfoxing and outsprinting Mathieu van der Poel in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. To cap it all off, Julian Alaphilippe chipped in with a La Flèche Wallonne win to seal a truly successful spring.

Highlights: Asgreen topples Van der Poel at Tour of Flanders

Alpecin-Fenix

Have been another success story this spring, with the emergence of Tim Merlier to bolster the efforts of marquee name, Van der Poel. Merlier took victories in Le Samyn and GP Jean-Pierre Monsere, while the latter managed just one win this time round, but what a win it was… the powerful wattbomb dropped on the climb to the Piazza del Campo in Siena which simply blew away the competition will take some years to forget.

'Legendary' - Van der Poel seals 'remarkable' Strade Bianche win

Jumbo-Visma

Will have no cause for complaints after a very good spring for Wout van Aert. The question of what they might do if the Belgian were ever to leave the team, or heaven forbid. get injured, has been raised, however… he was the only rider to get a victory this spring in the classics for Jumbo. They were two very good wins, however, in the prestigious Amstel Gold Race and Gent-Wevelgem.

'It’s a close one!' – Van Aert beats Pidcock by tightest of margins

Ineos Grenadiers

Have been one of the most dynamic teams in the world this classic season, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Tom Pidcock who – in his debut season in the WorldTour – has taken a first pro win, plus a bevvy of podiums. Dylan van Baarle secured a wonderful win in Dwars Door Vlaanderen, a result he has looked like delivering for some time – which only serves to brighten the picture yet further for Ineos.

Tom Pidcock sees off big guns to secure massive victory for Team Ineos

Trek-Segafredo

Sit somewhere in the middle. They will be rightly delighted with the win in Milan-Sanremo by Jasper Stuyven, not to mention former World Champion Mads Pedersen taking a victory in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. However, things have gone a little quiet for the US-based team in more recent weeks – and were certainly not helped by the whole team DNSing Gent-Wevelgem because of a positive COVID-19 test.

Highlights: Stuyven's late attack shocks the big boys at Milan-San Remo

The rest

Moving to teams that might have hoped for more this spring, AG2R Citroën have struggled to deliver that really big result. The French squad has rebuilt around the classics with big signings like Greg van Avermaet to join existing talent like Oliver Naesen – however, both riders are yet to get their hands in the air this season.
UAE Team Emirates came into this season with the strongest one-day squad it has ever had, at least since the days when the license was owned and operated by Lampre. However, it was their GC superstar Tadej Pogačar who delivered the team’s only victory in a classic this season – Liège-Bastogne-Liège this past weekend. No team is ever disappointed to have come away with a monument win, but the lack of victories from the likes of Alexander Kristoff, Matteo Trentin and Marc Hirschi will raise a few questions.

Highlights: Pogacar claims Liege-Bastogne-Liege ahead of Alaphilippe

Another team that clearly has the personnel to win classics but didn’t this spring is Lotto Soudal. Tim Wellens, Philippe Gilbert, John Degenkolb and Caleb Ewan – all are prestigious names, but none quite managed to get across the finish line first. Ewan’s climbing performance on the Poggio in Milan-Sanremo was perhaps the most enjoyable moment of this year’s edition, but entertainment and results are very different things.
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