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The Classics

Among the most celebrated and storied races in cycling, the spring classics begin in February and carry through to late April. Although what determines classic status is debated, the one-day events are in Europe with long, arduous courses. Below the recent news and features section, we celebrate each classic and semi classic individually.

Recent Classics News & Features

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

The race formerly known as Het Volk is the first cobbled classic of the year. Past winners include legends like Eddy Merckx and Johan Museeuw.

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

This semi classic follows hot on the heels of its Belgian neighbor Het Nieuwsblad. Quick-Step has won nine of the last 16 editions.

Strade Bianche

Held in Tuscany in part on white gravel roads, this race is a relative youngster, first held in 2007. While many would scoff at it being called a classic, it's a great race! It starts and finishes in Siena's picturesque Piazza del Campo, after racing up the steep climb into the center of the medieval city.

Milan-San Remo

The longest of all classics at 295km, the race runs from Milan down to the coast, then over to Sanremo, where the Poggio climb often provides a springboard for winning attacks — or at least ends the hopes of many a would-be contender.

E3 Saxo Bank Classic

This semi classic has gone by a number of names: E3 BinckBank Classic, E3 Harelbeke, Harelbek-Antwerp-Harelbeke, and E3 Prijs Vlaanderen. This Belgian WorldTour race tackles a number of famed cobbled climbs and is in many ways a warm-up race for Belgium's most important race, the Tour of Flanders.

Gent-Wevelgem

This is one for the sprinters.

Dwars Door Vlaanderen

This cobbled race goes from Roeselare to Waregem, in Belgium.

Tour of Flanders

There are classics, and then there are Monuments — the five most prestigious one-day races in all of cycling. The Tour of Flanders is a cobbled classic and, like Milan-Sanremo, a Monument.

Scheldeprijs

Traditionally sandwiched on the Wednesday between Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, Scheldeprijs is a flat and furious sprinter's race — but a curious one where you'll often see Roubaix favorites testing out their cobbles equipment ahead of the Hell of the North alongside sprinters racing deep aero wheels.

Amstel Gold

After weeks of races that favor bigger, stronger, flatland riders, the racing heads to the hilly Ardennes country.

Paris-Roubaix

Although its "Hell of the North" moniker comes from the ravaged post-WWII landscape of northern France through which it winds, the name aptly applies to the rugged racing conditions as well. While many Belgian races featured cobbled sections, they are all roads on which cars regularly drive, which makes them a bitter smoother and more uniform. The cobbled farmroads of Roubaix, however, are nasty, brutish and — with apologies to Thomas Hobbes — quite long in many sections. George Hincapie may have described Paris-Roubaix best, as the race that "no one wants to ride, but everyone wants to win." First held in 1896, Paris-Roubaix was slated to hold its first women's event in 2020 before it was canceled due to the coronavirus.

Brabantse Pijl

Held on the Wednesday before Amstel Gold, this Belgian race dates back to 1961. Its name means Brabant Arrow in English.

La Flèche Wallonne

First held in 1936, the race runs from Charleroi east to Huy, where riders three times tackle a challenging circuit that includes and finishes on the Mur de Huy, which kicks to as steep as 26 percent. Anna van der Breggen won the women's race in Wallonia a record seven times; Alejandro Valverde holds the men's record with five wins.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

First held in 1892, Liège-Bastogne-Liège also goes by the name La Doyenne (The Old Lady), as it is the oldest of the Monuments. It is also one of the most difficult races because of the number of steep climbs in the 255km event.