The Monuments are five classic cycle races considered to be the oldest, hardest and most prestigious one-day events in professional road cycling. They are labeled “hard-man” events – tough and gritty – with rich histories of epic battles for victory. They also have amateur gran fondo editions for hobby cyclists to test there mettle and see what it’s like to ride (and hopefully finish) a Monument.
Here are the 5 Monuments you can ride in 2022:
Tour of Flanders on 2 April in Belgium. 217 kilometres of short painful Flemish “berg and cobble” sectors let amateurs experience what it feels like to be a Classics pro for a day. Taking place the day before the pro event, amateurs will be cheered on by thousands of drunk Belgian fans lining the course – and offering a push on some of the steeper bergs. More information HERE.
Paris-Roubaix Challenge on 16 April in France. 172 kilometres of suffering, including 54 kilometres of the hardest granite cobblestone imaginable and, if you are really lucky, enough mud to cover you head-to-toe and make you look are a true “Hell of the North” pro when you finish on the Roubaix velodrome. With plenty of blood, tears and blisters likely, wrap an extra roll (or two) of handlebar tape around your bars – it just might save your hands and prevent tooth fillings from falling out. More information HERE.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège on 23 April in Belgium. At 257 kilometres in length with 4500 metres of “roller coaster” climbing this is as tough as it gets. Amateurs ride the same exact course as the pros at this classic event, cycling’s oldest Monument. Of course there is plenty of beer and frites at the end for those lucky enough to cross the finish line before dark. More information HERE.
Milan-Sanremo on 5 June in Italy. The 52nd edition this epic 300 kilometre amateur race starts in Milan, crosses the Piemonte region and finishes in the Mediterranean coastal city of Sanremo. The first 250 kilometres are a warm-up for the final 50 kilometres, where the real racing begins, which includes the legendary Poggio and Cipressa climbs. More information HERE.
Grand Fondo Il Lombardia on 9 October in Italy. With colorful autumn leaves, Lake Como and cool temperatures, this event is the perfect way to close-out your season. Although only 109 kilometres in length, 1700 metres of climbing, including the leg-breaking Madonna del Ghisallo and Muro di Surmano, this Monument will humble the fittest amateur with road gradients over 25%. More information HERE.
For extra credit you can ride what most pros consider the sixth Monument – Gran Fondo Strade Bianche on 6 March in Italy. Considered the “Hell of the South,” this 142.5 kilometre race rumbles across 55 kilometres of Tuscany’s chalk-white gravel roads. The final one kilometre climb at 7% into the historic Piazza del Campo of Siena is where pro rider Mathieu van der Poel (MVDP) launched a blistering attack to win the 2021 edition. Be sure to channel your inner MVDP and attack the final climb with gusto, then enjoy rolling under the finish banner in the center of the Piazza surrounded by cheering tifosi. More information HERE.
PHOTOS: event organisers