THIS CAN BE A FIERY AND PASSIONATE DEBATE WHICH USUALLY OCCURS "APRÈS VÉLO” AT A CAFÉ AMONGST THE BREW CREW.
We are all familiar with The Grand Tours - Italy, France and Spain - all brilliant spectacles in their own right and which we thoroughly love, especially the Tour de France. What could possibly be better than three straight weeks of bike racing? However, the physiological demands across 21 days of bike racing means that something has to give somewhere, at some point in the race. This is often illustrated by the peloton taking a “go slow” on some stages, with a small breakaway, comprising riders, more often than not from wildcard teams. This is where the question begs...What if those easier days in the saddle were not necessary? What if you just took the most exciting parts of the Grand Tours and cut out everything else?
THE ANSWER AWAITS... YOU'D HAVE THE SPRING CLASSICS.
The Spring Classics start in late February and comprise a number of major one-day races that take place across Northern Europe. The Classics are deeply enshrined in cycling history and heritage with each race having its own story and characteristics, ranging from the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix to the bergs of Flanders.
The five oldest, longest and most prestigious one-day races in professional cycling are known as the ‘Monuments’, which command as much kudos as the Grand Tours.
They include Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia, all boasting a rich heritage that every rider wants to have in their list of victories.
Similar to a Grand Tour, the Spring Classics add up to about 20 days of racing. However, they are spread across seven weeks instead of three.
With the Classics, easier days do not exist, because there is no 2nd stage. The result – you are exposed to the kind of racing you don’t see in the Grand Tours.
The Grand Tours burn slowly whilst the plot thickens. The Classics have fireworks with no margin for error and deliver instant gratification to the fans.
From a scenery perspective, there is no clear winner. The Grand Tours and the The Classics reveal awe inspiring scenery, that we, the viewers are privileged to witness. However, what the Classics do bring, is the potential of treacherous conditions and narrow battered roads.
The Classics are entwined in history: Paris Roubaix’s gladiatorial fight through the fabled Forest of Arenberg. Gent-Wevelgem’s moving homage to World War I and its vast cemeteries with endless rows of silent white sentinels.
Unlike many stages of the Grand Tours where many of the riders sit-in and wait for the bunch sprint, the Classics are raced with intensity from start to finish, with every last rider finishing completely shattered.
IF YOU LOVE WATCHING THE GRAND TOURS BUT AT TIMES, FIND IT A SLOW BURN, FEAST YOUR SENSES ON THE SPRING CLASSICS…'TIS PART OF THE CYCLING CALENDAR , WE TRULY LOVE.
Which do you prefer? The Grand Tours, or the Spring Classics?
No matter whether you prefer the Grand Tours or the Classics, it’s the stories behind these great races that create the memories and embrace the fans.
View our collections that pays homage to these great races.