The ideal weekend for cycling fans; ride on the same roads as the riders of the professional peloton before watching how it is done the day after or in some cases the day before.
Not a cyclist? Have a look at our comprehensive collection of VIP days and hospitality experiences during all the best cycling races in 2018.
In France and Belgium it is not allowed to have several competitive events in the same weekend. To get round this the amateur event which usually takes place either the day before or the day after is classed as a non-competitive event or ‘Cyclo-Touristique’. The main difference between Cyclo- Sportives, Gran Fondo events and Cyclo Touristiques is the competitive element. Touristiques tend to be non-timed, on open roads to the traffic without a winner and without the need to have a medical certificate. The challenge remains however as some of these are very tough and you are riding the same distance on the same route as the professionals.
Date of the Pro race – Saturday 3 March 2018
Date of the amateur race – Sunday 4 March 2018
Distances available: 124km Gran Fondo and 87km Medio Fondo
What’s so good about it? Get up and close with the Pros! In 2016 Spartacus himself decided to ride the Gran Fondo event so you were rubbing shoulders with the man the day after he won the Pro race. He is likely to make an appearance in 2018 as an ambassador for Trek bikes who co-sponsor the event. Last year we met up with Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan at our hotel. This weekend you will ride the Gran Fondo the day after watching the Pro race rather than the other way around. By the time you take on the ‘white roads’ or ‘sterrati’ you will be raring to rip them up! The 2018 Strade Bianche Pro race made its debut on the UCI World Tour in march 2017 so the level of the race will increase and more of the superstars of the Pro cycling circuit will be on show. The 124km Gran Fondo is identical to the route of the women’s race on the Saturday. The shorter ‘Medio Fondo’ route has less climbing but you will still tackle quite a few of the gravel roads.
Date of the Pro race – Saturday March 17, 2018
Date of the amateur race – Sunday June 10, 2018
Distances available: 120km
What’s so good about it? The Milan San Remo takes place on Saturday March 17 2018 and it always offers early season excitement. The first Monument of the cycling season, is also called La Primavera (The Spring) and it is the longest one day race on the professional calendar. The Milan-San Remo, with its 293 km that goes from Milan to the Italian Riviera, along which it faces the Passo del Turchino, the mythical “Capi” on the Aurelia, and the thrills of the concluding section, the Cipressa and the Poggio di Sanremo, before arriving in the “City of Flowers”. The Milan-San Remo marks the real start of the classics season and is often viewed as a sprinter’s classic with the fastest man over the Poggio in the front group likely to come out on top. Last year, the race was won by Arnaud Démare. After 293 kilometres of racing, he outsprinted Ben Swift and Jürgen Roelandts on the Via Roma.
If you want to ride the entire course on the same roads as the Pros then you can join us in June 2018 with the 48th edition of the Granfondo Milan-San Remo Cicloturistica, which will cover the entire route of the race.
Date of the Pro race – Sunday 1 April, 2018
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 31 March, 2018
Distances available: 230km, 180km, 130km, 75km
What’s so good about it? The Tour of Flanders is the pride of Flanders. With its cobbled climbs, incredible local support and Flanders’ hospitality cycling fans are in for a treat. Chips, beer and music accompany the Tour of Flanders wherever it goes. New for 2017 was Antwerp as the start location and the inclusion of the infamous Muur van Geraardsbergen before doing the now traditional finish circuit around Oudenaarde with all the famous cobbled climbs before finishing in Oudenaarde. You have the opportunity to ride the Tour of Flanders route in the amateur Cyclo event the day before the pros tackle the course. There are several different courses: 75km and 130km, both from Oudenaarde, and a 180km and the full 230km distance from Antwerp. All the events end in Oudenaarde and include the most notable climbs of the pro race with the longer distances also including the ‘Muur van Geraardsbergen’ see photo below.
Date of the Pro race – Sunday 8 April, 2018
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 7 April, 2018
Distances available: 172km, 145km and 70km
What’s so good about it? “The queen of classics” is a formidable and exciting race, considered by many to be the best one day classic cycling race to watch. The start of the ‘Hell of the North’ is in Compiegne and the finish is in the famous Roubaix Velodrome. The 2018 Paris-Roubaix Challenge in April 2018 gives you the opportunity to ride nearly the full route including all of the cobbles of one of the oldest and most significant of cycling events, the day before the Pro race. The 2018 Roubaix Challenge event will be held the day before the Paris Roubaix Pro Race and you will do a lap on the Roubaix Veldorome when you finish and you can even have a shower in the famous Roubaix Velodrome showers if you want to.
Date of the Pro race – Sunday 15 April, 2018
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 14 April, 2018
Distances available: 150km
What’s so good about it? The Amstel Gold Race has been taking place in the southernmost province of the Netherlands; Limburg every year since 1966. Every year ‘De Markt’ in Maastricht is the start venue of the Amstel Gold Race. The finish of the Amstel Gold Race is located in Valkenburg and the Amstel Gold Race is part of the UCI World Tour. The Amstel Gold Race is the only Dutch World Tour Classic and attracts a large number of Dutch and International cycling fans each year because of its interesting list of participants. Some of the world’s best cyclists strive for victory in the race by conquering the hilly countryside of Limburg. This is an incredibly popular sell-out amateur cycling event. You can take part in the 150km Amstel Gold Race Cyclosportive event which follows the latter part of the pro race race route including all the short, sharp climbs like the Cauberg. There will be numerous organised feeding stations and a mechanical service present. Included with your Amstel Gold Race sportive entry: Guaranteed participation in the Tourversion of the Amstel Gold Race, a (Sportive) Breakfast at the VIP-pavilion, a speech by Race Director Leo van Vliet, special reserved parking near the VIP-pavilion, special reserved shower- and changing facilities and a photo with the Dutch ‘flower girls’ followed by an extensive buffet after Amstel Gold Race Toertocht (sportive)
Date of the Pro race – Sunday 22 April, 2018
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 21 April, 2018
Distances available: 271km, 158km, 76km
What’s so good about it? The full distance amateur event is definitely one of the toughest one-day cycling events that you can take part in. Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the oldest of cycling’s classics. First run in 1892, Liege Bastogne Liege, or LBL as it is also called, takes you through the hilliest parts of Belgium, along routes typical of the Ardennes. Liege Bastogne Liege is nicknamed ‘La Doyenne’ as it is the oldest race out of the classics which is still taking place today. Don’t be fooled and think that Belgium is flat. This race takes in plenty of steep, hilly sections and makes for some dramatic racing. The new route with the uphill finish sections and the cold and wet weather whittled the Peloton down until just a small group was left. Strongest on the day was Team Sky’s Dutch ace Wout Poels who delivered Team Sky their first ever victory in a Cycling Monument.
Are you not a cyclist but you enjoy watching the best of Pro Cycling in 2018? Have a look at our comprehensive collection of VIP days and hospitality experiences during all the best cycling races in 2018. CLICK HERE
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