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Spring Classics?

Many say that it is the most wonderful time of the year. While many of us at Cyclova XC enjoy all seasons, for most of us, the Spring Classics Season is a time that we look forward to all year.

Spring is the season where cyclists are ready to burst with enthusiasm and are at the peak of their motivation to log big hours in the saddle, even in nasty Spring rain, wind, sleet, and snow. Watching our heroes duke it out in the famous Spring Classics races only serves to fuel this enthusiasm!

How can you not get excited after watching Tom Boonen drive a breakaway for hundreds of kilometers and have the win come down to a couple of millimeters? If you have an appreciation for amazing athletes, team strategy, hot new bikes, race starts in town squares that are thousands of years old, racing down rough cobbles that Napoleon marched down, gnarly weather, etc - read on!

I've always had an appreciation for bike racing in general, but here in the Midwest, we historically haven't had access to coverage, until the recent advent of the Internet. So, back in 2003, Dave Gabrys and I decided to check out the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands first hand. Look for the full story of this amazing adventure soon on CyclovaXC.com. In the end, the result was the realization that these events are bigger than any NFL Game. There are hundreds of thousands of people that spectate these amazing races whose stadium is hundreds of kilometers of roads. There are even guys that walk around serving the crowd free beer from "keg backpacks"!

The hundreds of thousands of fans in the final kilometers of the Amstel Gold Race are as passionate as it gets!

Most of the Spring Classics happen in the relatively concentrated Ben-Lux area of Belgium and Holland. As a spectator, it is literally possible to travel to Belgium and within 4 days see 3 spring classic races within a 70 kilometer radius. The ultimate trip for many, this allows you to avoid the huge hype and expense of the Tour De France and truly experience the local culture.

A number of great cycling website offer excellent coverage of these events, even live video footage. Following are a few ways to follow the Spring Classics live:
In closing, following is a schedule of the coming major European Spring Classics with links to their official websites. Note that there are hundreds of others in this region on the calendar, these are simply the bigger, more prestigious events which the major Pro-Tour teams compete at:

March 20: Milan San Remo
March 28: Gent Wevelgem
April 4-5: Tour of Flanders
April 11: Paris Roubaix
April 17: Liege Bastogne Liege
April 18: Amstel Gold Race
April 21: La Fleche Wallonne

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great links Frank! Cycling fans should also be aware of UniversalSports.com. (here's a link: http://www.universalsports.com/cycling/index.html)

    I watched most of the Giro d'Italia live and for free there last year. It looks like they've got Milan San Remo coverage this year as well.

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  2. Ah yes, great call Andrew! Universal Sports also features a wealth of World Cup XC Ski Races.

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  3. Camping Den Dreisch ist sehr gut! I'll never forget sleeping in that 5 foot long tent with our feet hanging out the end, and opening our beers on the hatchback of the Peugot we rented. Dopple Douche too. Quad pissers that smacked me in the head. I'll never forget it. Good times. The campsite in Valkenburg: http://www.campingdendriesch.nl/en/index.lp

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  4. Thank you Wheezy! Yes, those were great times! I'm already working on a post about how to spectate at a Spring Classic race and will use some of those stories and pics for the piece.

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