The five Monuments are races that are generally regarded as the oldest, longest and most prestigious classics in cycling. They each have a rich history and specific characteristics. These are the one day races which earn the most points in the World Tour Classification (100 points for the winner).
The first great classic on the calendar, its Italian name is La Primavera (Spring) as it is driven end of March. The first edition was in 1907. Milan-San Remo is known as a sprint classic, although it is the longest race of the season (300 km), the trail along the Ligurian coast is mostly flat, making sprinters often compete for the victory.
Tour of Flanders
The first cobblestone classic, early April in the calendar. The first edition was in 1913, the “Round” is the youngest of the five Monuments. The race is known for its nervous battle on narrow, winding roads and short but steep hills in the Flemish Ardennes and some cobbled sections in the Swalm. The contest undergoes every year some route changes: since 1998 the Tour starts in Bruges and since 2012 is the finish in Oudenaarde.
The Queen of the Classics or the Hell of the North is traditionally driven a week after the Tour of Flanders and is the climax of the cobblestone classics. The first edition was in 1896. The key elements include the numerous long cobblestones, which are often extremely dusty or muddy, so the race is considered by many as the most heroic one-day race of the year. The race ends at the iconic Velodrome André-Pétrieux in Roubaix.
The last Ardenne Classic in late April in the calendar, the traditional final piece of the spring races. The “Doyenne” (the old lady), because she is the oldest classic, was first organized in 1892 as an amateur contest; the first professional edition was held in 1894. Typically, is the succession of steep hills in the Ardennes, which makes it an especially grueling race which is usually contested by climbers and specialists of the Grand Tours.
Tour of Lombardy
The ‘Autumn Classic’ or the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ driving late September or early October. The first edition was organized in 1905 under the name of Milan Milan and from 1907 as the Tour of Lombardy. Since 2012 the race has been several weeks forward on the calendar, one week after the world championships, which they regarded as a revenge race for the riders beaten in the World Cup. The race passes over a varied and very difficult course around Lake Como with a smooth arrival in Bergamo and is often won by climbers with a strong sprint.
OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD
The real start of the cycling season is always the ‘Omloop Het Nieuwsblad’ popularly known as ‘Omloop Het Volk’. After all preparatory races it is serious from now. Although the preparatory races are becoming increasingly important for sponsors. The winner of ‘Het VOLK` immediately makes his season successful. The number two is not counted and is forgotten. This year the cold temperature of 5 degrees Celsius and a very cold wind from the north makes the race more difficult. The distance is 200 km and there are 13 tough climbs. Often short but steep and usually on roads paved with cobblestones.
It is always a beautiful and interesting race with a lot of struggle and tension. We show the race in 2015 that ended very spectacular and also the race of this year 2016. We don’t mention the results because we do not want to spoil the suspense.
As a bonus Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one day after ‘Omloop Het Nieuwsblad’. Three exciting races that show how beautiful cycling can be.