Classic cycle races
The classic cycle races are one-day professional cycling road races in the international calendar. Most of the events, all run in western Europe, have been fixtures on the professional calendar for decades and the oldest ones date back to the 19th century. They are normally held at roughly the same time each year. In the last few years, the five most revered races are sometimes described as the 'Monuments'.
For the 2005 to 2007 seasons, the Classics formed part of the UCI ProTour run by the Union Cycliste Internationale. This event series also included various stage races including the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, Paris–Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, and various non-Classic one-day events. The ProTour replaced the UCI Road World Cup series which contained only one-day races. Many of the Classics, and all the Grand Tours, were not part of the ProTour for the 2008 season because of disputes between the UCI and the ASO, which organizes the Tour de France and several other major races.
- Milan – San Remo (Italy) – the first true Classic of the year, its Italian name is La Primavera (the spring), this race is normally held on the Sunday closest to the first day of spring. First run in 1907.
- Gent–Wevelgem (Belgium) – the first of the "Spring Classics", first held in 1934.
- E3 Harelbeke (Belgium) – first held in 1958.
- Tour of Flanders (Belgium) – Vlaanderens mooiste ("Flanders's most beautiful") is normally raced in early April. First held in 1913. Known in English as the "Tour of Flanders" and in Flemish/Dutch as "de Ronde van Vlaanderen".
- Paris–Roubaix (France) – La Reine ("Queen of the Classics") or l'Enfer du Nord ("Hell of the North") is traditionally one week after the Tour of Flanders, and was first raced in 1896.
- Amstel Gold Race (the Netherlands) – normally held in mid-April. First run in 1966, it is one of the three "Ardennes Classics."
- La Flèche Wallonne (Belgium) – first run in 1936, Walloon Arrow is traditionally held mid-week between the Amstel Gold and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Second "Ardennes Classic."
- Liège–Bastogne–Liège (Belgium) – held in late April. La Doyenne, the oldest Classic, was first held in 1892. It is the third "Ardennes Classic."
- Clásica de San Sebastián (Spain)
- Paris–Tours (France) - known as the "Sprinters' Classic".
- Trittico di Autunno (Italy) formed by:
- Milano–Torino – First run in 1876, the race has not been run from 2008 to 2011 but has returned to the UCI calendar in 2012.
- Giro del Piemonte
- Giro di Lombardia – also known as the "Race of the Falling Leaves", was held in October. Initially called the Milano–Milano in 1905, it became the Giro di Lombardia in 1907 and Il Lombardia in 2012 along with a new, earlier date at the end of September.
- Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Belgium) - opening Belgian cycling season
- GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise (France) - opening French cycling season
- Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi (Italy) - opening Italian cycling season
- Trofeo Cala Millor-Cala Bona (Spain) - opening Spanish cycling season
Some past Classics are no longer run. These include:
- Bordeaux–Paris, the gruelling 560 km, partly motor-paced event, run from 1891 to 1988
- Porto–Lisboa, held from 1911 to 2004 (the longest one-day classic when was interrupted)
- Milan – San Remo (Italy) – the first true Classic of the year, its Italian name is La Primavera (the spring), this race is held in late March. First run in 1907. Notable for being the sprinter's classic, this race is particularly long though mostly flat enabling sprinters to compete.
- Tour of Flanders (Belgium) – also known as the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the first of the 'Spring Classics', is raced in early April. First held in 1913. Notable for the narrow cobbled hills (hellingen) which force the best riders to continually fight for space at the front.
- Paris–Roubaix (France) – the "Queen of the Classics" or l'Enfer du Nord ("Hell of the North") is traditionally one week after the Tour of Flanders, and was first raced in 1896. Notable for its many long sections of pavé (cobblestones) making it the most unpleasant one day race.
- Liège–Bastogne–Liège (Belgium) – late April. La Doyenne, the oldest Classic, was first held in 1892 as an amateur event; a professional edition followed in 1894. Notable for its many short sharp hills and so favouring climbers and even grand tour specialsts.
- Giro di Lombardia (Italy) – also known as the "Race of the Falling Leaves", is held in October. Initially called the Milano–Milano in 1905, it became the Giro di Lombardia in 1907 and Il Lombardia in 2012 along with a new, earlier date at the end of September. It is notable as a climber's classic with a varied course and flat finish.
Only three riders have won all five 'Monument' one-day races during their careers: Roger De Vlaeminck, Rik Van Looy and Eddy Merckx, all three Belgians, and only Eddy Merckx won each of them more than once. With victories in all the other Monuments, Sean Kelly almost joined this group, finishing second in the Tour of Flanders on three occasions (1984, 1986 and 1987). Dutch rider Hennie Kuiper won each Monument, except Liège–Bastogne–Liège in which he finished second in 1980. The great French rider, Louison Bobet, also won all but the Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Belgian rider Fred De Bruyne also came close, finishing second in the Giro di Lombardia in 1955 and winning the other four races during his career. Germain Derycke also won four races, all except the Giro di Lombardia.
Most 'Monuments' wins
|Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx||Belgium||1966||1976||7||2||3||5||2||19|
|De Vlaeminck, RogerRoger De Vlaeminck||Belgium||1970||1979||3||1||4||1||2||11|
|Girardengo, CostanteCostante Girardengo||Italy||1918||1928||6||3||9|
|Coppi, FaustoFausto Coppi||Italy||1946||1954||3||1||5||9|
|Kelly, SeanSean Kelly||Ireland||1983||1992||2||2||2||3||9|
|Van Looy, RikRik Van Looy||Belgium||1958||1965||1||2||3||1||1||8|
|Bartali, GinoGino Bartali||Italy||1939||1950||4||3||7|
|Boonen, TomTom Boonen||Belgium||2005||2012||3||4||7|
|Cancellara, FabianFabian Cancellara||Switzerland||2006||2014||1||3||3||7|
|Pelissier, HenriHenri Pélissier||France||1911||1921||1||2||3||6|
|Binda, AlfredoAlfredo Binda||Italy||1925||1931||2||4||6|
|De Bruyne, FredFred De Bruyne||Belgium||1956||1959||1||1||1||3||6|
|Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser||Italy||1975||1984||1||3||2||6|
|Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin||Italy||1985||1991||1||4||1||6|
|Museeuw, JohanJohan Museeuw||Belgium||1993||2002||3||3||6|
|Belloni, GaetanoGaetano Belloni||Italy||1915||1928||2||3||5|
|Van Steenbergen, RikRik Van Steenbergen||Belgium||1944||1954||1||2||2||5|
|Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault||France||1977||1984||1||2||2||5|
|Bartoli, MicheleMichele Bartoli||Italy||1996||2003||1||2||2||5|
|Bettini, PaoloPaolo Bettini||Italy||2000||2006||1||2||2||5|
Riders in blue are still active. Number of wins in gold indicates the current record holder(s).
List of 'Monuments' winners
Only Eddy Merckx has been able to win three Monuments in a single year, but he did it four times:
- 1969: Milan – San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
- 1971: Milan – San Remo, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Giro di Lombardia.
- 1972: Milan – San Remo, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Giro di Lombardia.
- 1975: Milan – San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
- Cycling Hall of Fame: Introduction, 2010, retrieved 2010-07-12
- Cycling Monuments, 2010, retrieved 2010-07-12
- "Cancellara dreams of all winning all five of cycling monuments", CyclingNews.com, 2010, retrieved 2010-07-12
- The result in 1949 took several months and two international conferences to sort out. André Mahé was first but his win was challenged because he took the wrong course. Mahé was in a break of three that reached Roubaix velodrome in the lead, but he was misdirected by officials and entered the track by the wrong gate. Mahé was declared winner but a few minutes later other riders arrived using the correct route and Serse Coppi, brother of famous Fausto, won the sprint for what was assumed to be the minor placings. After a protest and several months, Serse Coppi was named joint winner with Mahé.
- Two riders shared the 1957 race. Germain Derijcke was first over the line, but because he crossed a closed rail crossing, the second-place rider, Frans Schoubben, was promoted to first as well. Derijcke was not disqualified, because he had won by three minutes advantage; judges felt he had not gained that much time from illegally crossing the railway.