April brings spring showers … and the great one day classics. The professional cycling calendar runs from, well, January through October. July’s big race, the Tour de France is known by everyone. Many people and all cyclists know that the Tour is one of three “Grand Tours” three week races with the other two being the Giro de Italia which begins in May and the Vuelta a Espana which begins in late August or early September. These three week races are complex events with many overall races within races occurring and complex strategies unfolding over three weeks of racing.

Stage racing is a major part of the professional cycling calendar but is not everything. There are also the one day races. The most prestigious one day races are the “classics”, four of which are coming up over the four weekends in April. In stage racing recovery is key, one can never go too far into one’s reserves of endurance and exhaustion because one is required to respond and be able to race well the next day. With one day races that is not a factor. The race is all or nothing with everything on the one finish. The Tour GC (overall time winner) can be won by a rouleur (time trial specialist) or a climber or a rider who is excellent at both. The spring classics are won by the “hard men” of the peloton. The spring classics are often cold and wet, littered with short steep climbs, and the road conditions often include Northern European cobblestones, or the pavĂ©.

This weekend the first of the one day classics for this year will be held, the Ronde van Vlaandaren, or in English the Tour of Flanders. Here is a short interview with a former Ronde winner on this particular race.

Filed under: Mark O.Sports

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