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Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo en Europa


The 5 classics of cycling in Europe

As in all sports, there are always some competitions that stand out and become the sporting Olympus of whatever specialty it is. Roland Garros in tennis, UEFA in soccer or the World Athletics Championships are just a few examples of the importance that some disciplines have in the annual calendar.

In cycling, although we are familiar with the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, there are also many other competitions whose prestige and importance are not far behind despite of not being so recognized by the general public. For this reason, in this article we will tell you what the 5 classics of cycling in Europe are, in which countries they are celebrated and why they are part of the history of international cycling.

Held mainly between the months of March and April, the spring classics may not be as well known to many people, so hearing about them is more reserved for a public interested in this topic. However, in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, these competitions can have greater expectations than the ones we already know, due to the spectacle they offer.

If you are a sports fan and want to find out which are the classics in Europe, keep reading because here we tell you everything you need to know about these great events.

Which are the 5 classics of cycling?

Las Clásicas del Ciclismo en Europa

The 5 cycling classics, also called monumentss, are: Milan, San Remo and the Giro de Lombardy in Italy, the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogna- Liège in Belgium and, finally, Paris-Roubaux in France.

You may be wondering why these competitions are the classic ones and why they are given so much importance, and that is that, in addition to their difficulty due to the harsh conditions (which we will talk about later), these competitions have a long tradition history dating back to even before World War I.

Milan – Sanremo (Italy)

Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo - Milan - San Remo

The first classic you should know is Milan – San Remo. This race has been held in Italy since 1907 and under normal conditions, it is usually held on the third weekend of March, which is why it is known as the monument of spring. In addition, it also boasts of being the longest because its route reaches almost 300 km and as its name indicates, it begins in Milan and ends in San Remo.

The biggest ascent is found halfway in Passo del Turchino, in the Liguria region and with an altitude of 532 meters above sea level, however, at the end of the race, cyclists will also encounter other smaller climbs such as Cipressa at 239 meters and Poggio di San Remo at 160.

Former Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx is the person who has won this race the most times, one of the reasons why he is considered the best cyclist of all time. Miguel Poblet in 1957 and Óscar Freire in 2004, 2007 and 2010 have been the only two Spaniards to have managed to win this victory.

Tour of Flanders (Belgium)

Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo - Tour de Flandes

It has been carried out in Flanders, Belgium since 1913 and the only years in which it was interrupted were between 1915 and 1918 due to World War I, on the other hand, during World War II, this was the only one that took place held on German territory. Of all of them, it was the last one that began to take place and it takes place on the first weekend of April.

The course of this race is around 254.3 km and the climbs, although short, are also quite steep. This competition has a large number of pavé climbs (cobblestones) whose unevenness can reach 20%.

This classic, is undoubtedly known as the monument of the walls and cobblestones. And, although we would like to say otherwise, no Spaniard has managed to win this race.

An interesting fact about this competition? Like others such as the Tour de France or the Paris-Roubaix classic, the Tour of Flanders began with the intention of promoting a Flemish sports newspaper, in this case Sportwereld.

Tour de Flandes

Paris – Roubaix (France)

Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo - Paris Roubaix

Also known as 'the hell of the north', this competition is undoubtedly the toughest of all the monuments. Celebrated in France since 1896, the Paris - Roubaix, is the monument par excellence. Coinciding in the same month, this classic takes place one weekend after the Tour of Flanders, that is, the second weekend of April.

The route of this competition is 260 km and although it is completely flat, the difficulties are added by other aspects. This race has 30 pavé sectors, which would add up to 50 km on this type of pavement, and, furthermore, that it is nicknamed 'the hell of the north' is no coincidence since when it rains, mud is generated and it is possible to ride on the pavement it really becomes hell for cyclists.

Many times athletes must carry the bicycle in their arms during some section, and for this reason, it is very common to see images of this race in which the cyclists are completely covered in dirt and mud. Thanks to moments like these, this type of event generates greater enthusiasm among the public.

This classic has not yet been won by any Spanish athlete.

Paris - Roubaix

Liège- Bastogne- Liège (Belgium)

Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo - Lieja- Bastoña- Lieja

In order of age, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the monument that has been celebrated the longest, specifically since 1892 and, for this reason, it is known as 'the dean'. It is usually the last classic of the season, held on the last Sunday of April. Its route stretches for 260 km and represents a challenge for cyclists, thanks to its short and hard climbs that always end up.

In this competition, in order to achieve victory, it is essential for athletes to know when to press and attack. Again, Eddy Merckx has been the person with the most victories in this race, five specifically, while Alejandro Valverde with four victories has been the only Spaniard to have won this classic.

Gyro of Lombardy (Italy)

Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo - Giro Lombardia

Despite being another of the 5 spring classics, this competition, which has been held in Italy since 1905, takes place in October, which is why it is also known as the 'classic of dead leaves'.

This is the monument of the mountains, since its route, which stretches for 250 km, leaving Bergamo and ending in Como, has large mountainous sections. This race is also known for serving as a revalidation after the great tours that are held throughout the year, or failing that, as revenge.

The Giro de Lombardy is undoubtedly the classic for climbers, hence the person who has won this race the most times, specifically five (four in a row), is the Italian Fausto Coppi, emblem of this event.

Joaquim Rodríguez, 'Purito' has been one of the five Spaniards who have managed to win the Giro de Lombardy, adding two victories in this competition. Miguel Poblet would be the first Spaniard to win it twice and almost 30 years later Marino Lejarreta would follow. Samuel Sánchez in 2006 and Pablo Lastra in 2010 (followed by Purito) were the other two Spaniards to win.

Giro Lombardia

Frequently asked questions about the 5 classics of Europe

What are the classics in cycling?

The classics are the 5 road cycling competitions that take place in a single day and that take place in different countries of Europe.

Which are the 5 classics of Europe?

The 5 classics held in Europe are: Milan-Bergamo (Italy), Tour of Flanders (Belgium), Paris – Roubaix (France), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Belgium) and the Giro de Lombardía (Italy) ).

When did the 5 classics start to be held?

The 5 classics have a great historical tradition, since all of them have been celebrated since before the First World War.

Which is the hardest classic of all?

Paris-Roubaix is the hardest classic, since, despite being completely flat, it has many cobbled sections, and the mud that forms when it rains makes it difficult for cyclists to advance.

What is a monument in cycling?

The term 'monument' is attributed to the 5 most prestigious cycling competitions and which have an element that makes them stand out and differentiates them from the rest. Hence, Milan-Bergamo is known as 'the monument of spring', the Tour of Flanders as 'the monument of walls and cobblestones', Paris-Roubaix as 'the hell of the north', Liège - Bastoña-Liège as 'the dean', and finally, the Giro d'Italia as 'the classic of the dead leaves'.

Las 5 clásicas del ciclismo - Lieja Bastoña Lieja