Christmas is almost here. Kind of. The Classics are the very best part of the cycling season (sorry, Grand Tours) and after a disrupted 2020, we’re ready for the normal slate of races.
There are five Classics on the cycling calendar and it’s no coincidence that four of them come in the span of just a few weeks. From Milan-San Remo’s long crescendo to the relentless, staccato pace of the pave, March and April are home to the most storied races in the long and storied history of the sport.
Things kick off March 20 this year with Milan-San Remo. Like so many events, the La Classicissima was kicked back to fall due to pandemic restructure, but the change of date did nothing to detract from the racing. Wout van Aert won his first Monument, beating his foil, Matthieu van der Poel, to that career benchmark.
For the latest on the race, head here.
From Italy, it’s back to northern Europe for the Flandrien races. Two Belgian races actually kick off the cobble racing and mark the unofficial start of the campaign. These semi-Classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, serve as dress rehearsal for the biggest race. The Tour of Flanders is the pinnacle of Flemish cycling, tackling the short, steep, and almost always cobbled helligen, or hills. Long, arduous, and often made even more difficult by cold and wet weather, Flanders is the iconic race for hardmen like Fabian Cancellara, Peter van Petegem and, these days, riders like Peter Sagan.
Get all the Flanders updates here.
It’s a crusher. The Queen of the Classics, the most famous race in the world outside of Le Tour; it’s Paris-Roubaix. Last year, Roubaix was cancelled completely because of the pandemic, which means the return on April 11 makes it even more special. With the roughest cobbles of all the Classics, as well as over 200 kilometers of windy, rough, and aggressive racing. Winning Paris-Roubaix doesn’t just make careers; it makes legends.
Here’s the 2021 preview.
So what’s the best race for the spring? And who do you think is primed to have the best Classics campaign?