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Without a doubt, the Monuments have historically been dominated by Belgian riders.

Photo: Sirotti

PARIS - ROUBAIX

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
16.04.2015 @ 19:56 Posted by Steve Greer

For much of the world, the winter of 2014 - 2015 was a harsh one with bitterly cold temperatures and record setting snowfall which kept many cyclists dreaming of warm weather while peddling away on our indoor trainers. But now with the warming spring weather, cycling is waking up from its winter slumber and the cycling Spring Classics are in full swing. Talk to most any cycling enthusiast and before long the conversation will likely turn up names like Milan - San Remo, Gent - Wevelgem, Paris - Roubaix, and Liege - Bastogne - Liege. In this, the first installment of the "This Month in Cycling History" series, I will focus on the "Monuments" races.

 

The "Monuments" of cycling consists of five races which are generally considered to be the oldest and most prestigious of the one-day events. The races are Milan - San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris - Roubaix, Liege - Bastogne - Liege, and Giro di Lombardia.

 

Milan - San Remo, held in late March, was first run in 1907. At 298 kilometers, it is the longest of the one-day events. With its many long, flat roads, it is considered a sprinter's classic.

 

The Tour of Flanders, or Ronde van Vlaanderen, was first held in 1913. This roughly 250 kilometer race is known for its narrow cobbled roads which leave riders fighting for space in the peloton.

 

Paris - Roubaix, first held in 1896, is known as both "The Queen of the Classics", and, more notoriously, "The Hell of the North." The latter nickname was earned due to its many kilometers of bone-jarring, frame-rattling cobbled roads.

 

Liege - Bastogne - Liege is the oldest of the Monuments, having first been run as an amateur event in 1892, and as a professional event two years later in 1894. This race is notable for its many short but steep climbs.

 

The final Monument race is the Giro di Lombardia, known as the "Race of the Falling Leaves" as it has historically taken place in October, when the leaves being to turn colors and the air begins to get cooler. This race is a great combination of climbs and has a flat, fast finish.

 

Without a doubt, the Monuments have historically been dominated by Belgian riders. Belgians have the most wins by nationality at 214 total, followed by the Italians with 150. Only three riders have won all five Monuments races during their careers: Roger De Vlaeminck, Rik Van Looy, and Eddy Merckx, all three Belgian. Of these three, only Eddy Merckx has won them more than once. In fact, not only does Eddy Merckx hold the individual record for the most Monument wins total at 19, but he also has managed to win three Monuments in a single year four times:

1969: Milan - San Remo, Tour of Flanders, and Liege - Bastogne - Liege.

1971: Milan - San Remo, Liege - Bastogne - Liege, Giro di Lombardia.

1972: Milan - San Remo, Liege - Bastogne - Liege, Giro di Lombardia.

1975: Milan - San Remo, Tour of Flanders, and Liege - Bastogne - Liege.

 

Finally, with the 2015 Paris – Roubaix still fresh in our minds, it stands to be noted that the two riders with the most wins, Roger De Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen, tied at 4 wins each, are both Belgian.

 

That's all for this month. Be sure to make Cyclingquotes.com your number 1 source for information and updates for all of the Spring Classics and beyond.

 

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