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.
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In France and Belgium it is not allowed to have several competitive events in the same weekend. To get around 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 roads open to traffic, without a winner and without the need for a medical certificate. The challenge remains however as some of these are very tough and often you are riding the same distance and route as the professionals.
Date of the Pro race – Saturday 2 March 2019
Date of the amateur race – Sunday 3 March 2019
Distances available: 62km, 88km and 123km
What’s so good about it? Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the première opening race of the Spring Classics, is a day that cycle racers and cycling fans eagerly look forward to for months each year. The Omloop joined the elite circle of World Tour races in 2017.
The cycling city of Ghent will remain the backdrop for the entrance of the World Tour racers on Belgian soil, but the redesigned final, with the finish in Meerbeke and the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen/Bosberg duo in the final, will certainly promise a great spectacle!
Those choosing the long distance sportive(123km) will start at the home of Belgian track cycling in Ghent, ‘t Kuipke, just like the professionals the day before. Riders who choose the shorter distances will start from Meerbeke. On the course there are 10 well-known bergs and 4 cobbled sections in the Flemish Ardennes on the same parcours as the pros with de Eikenberg, Molenberg, Haaghoek/ Leberg, Tenbosse, Wolvenberg, Berendries and Valkenberg. Some of these will also feature on the other distances (62km with 4 climbs and 88km with 7 climbs).
Date of the Pro race – Saturday 9 March 2019
Date of the amateur race – Sunday 10 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. In 2017 we met up with Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan at our hotel. This year 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!
Strade Bianche made its debut on the UCI World Tour recently in March 2017 so the prestige of the race is growing 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 23, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Sunday March 24, 2019
Distances available: 118km and 85km
What’s so good about it? Milan – San Remo takes place on Saturday March 23 2019 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. Milan-San Remo, with its 293 km that goes from Milan to the Italian Riviera, 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. In 2018, the race was won by Vincenzo Nibali with a daring solo attack on the Poggio.
On the Sunday after the 2019 Milan San Remo, the San Remo – San Remo “Classicissima” Granfondo starts from Corso Garibaldi in San Remo, a short distance from the sea. This Gran Fondo offers you the option of a 85km long Mediofondo and a 118km Gran Fondo. You will go on a tour of Liguria and you on the Gran Fondo you will tackle the Cipressa, Pompeiana and the Poggio twice. Both routes will finish on the Poggio from where we provide transport back to the hotel.
If you want to ride the entire course on the same roads as the Pros then you can join us in June 2019 with the 49th 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, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 31 March, 2019
Distances available: 215km, 136km, 91km, 60km
What’s so good about it? Gent Wevelgem is one of the traditional season openers for the Flemish cobbled cycling season as well as the UCI cycling World Tour as a whole. The start is in the town of Deinze near Ghent and the finish will be in the town of Wevelgem. The weekend of events includes a Cyclo for amateur cyclists to take part in on the Saturday and a whole host of activities around the professional race on the Sunday.
Like the professionals, cycling amateurs will have their own start of the cycling season with the Gent Wevelgem Cyclo which will take place on Saturday 30 March 2019. The day before the professionals, amateur cyclists will take the start of the 2019 cycling season for thousands of riders on the Gent Wevelgem Cyclo. After a long hibernation this will represent the biggest test of the year for many cycling enthusiasts. There will be 4 distances on offer so there is a challenge for every level of cyclist.
Date of the Pro race – Sunday 7 April, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 6 April, 2019
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 in 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 14 April, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 13 April, 2019
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 2019 Paris-Roubaix Challenge in April 2019 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 2019 Roubaix Challenge event will be held the day before the Paris Roubaix Pro Race and you will do a lap on the Roubaix Velodrome 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 21 April, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 20 April, 2019
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.
The Amstel Gold Race Tour version 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 28 April, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Saturday 71 April, 2019
Distances available: 271km, 158km, 76km
What’s so good about it? 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’ or “the old lady”, as it is the oldest race 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.
The full distance amateur event is definitely one of the toughest one-day cycling events that you can take part in although shorter distances are also available. All of the sportive distances start and finish in Liege.
Date of the Pro race – Saturday 12 October, 2019
Date of the amateur race – Sunday 13 October, 2019
Distances available: 118km
What’s so good about it? In 2018 1,400 sportive riders conquered the famous Lake Como climbs at the GRAN FONDO IL LOMBARDIA. The course, featuring the Ghisallo, Muro di Sormano and Civiglio climbs, closed the season of sportive events. Thes Gran Fondo Il Lombardia takes place on Sunday, the day after the Il Lombardia 2019 – the so-called “Classic of the Dead Leaves” that traditionally closes the European professional cycling season. The Gran Fondo route will take riders from Como to Como, over a 118.2km long route with more than 2700m of vertical elevation.
The Gran Fondo Il Lombardia combines the unique charm of its beautiful route with the opportunity for amateur riders to measure themselves against their heroes by riding on the very same roads the pros raced the day before – a key part what makes the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia so special. The route starts from Como and takes riders to Onno, on the eastern branch of Lake Como before heading north to take the mountain road in Regatola. Riders will then face two epic ascents: firstly the Madonna del Ghisallo and then the Muro di Sormano, with gradients up to 27%. Following these major climbs, the route turns and makes it way back to Como and the final the two climbs of Civiglio and San Fermo della Battaglia to test the endurance of the riders.
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