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The classic cycle races are the most prestigious one-day professional cycling road races in the international calendar. Most of the events, all run in western Europe, have been fixtures on the professional calendar for decades and the oldest ones date back to the 19th Century. They are normally held at roughly the same time each year. In the last few years, the five most revered races are sometimes described as the 'Monuments'.

For the 2005-2007 seasons, the Classics formed part of the UCI ProTour run by the Union Cycliste Internationale. This event series also included various stage races including the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, and various non-Classic single day events. The ProTour replaced the UCI Road World Cup series which contained only one-day races. Many of the Classics, and all the Grand Tours, are not part of the ProTour for the 2008 season because of disputes between the UCI and the ASO, which organizes the Tour de France and several other major races.

The Classics

Professional races commonly regarded as Classics:

La Primavera

  • Milan-Sanremo ( Italy) – the first true Classic of the year, its Italian name is La Primavera (the spring), this race is normally held in late March. First run in 1907.

Cobbled classics

  • Ronde van Vlaanderen ( Belgium) – the first of the 'Spring Classics', is normally raced in early April. First held in 1913. Known in English as the 'Tour of Flanders'.
  • Ghent-Wevelgem ( Belgium) - First held in 1934.
  • Paris-Roubaix ( France) – La Reine ("Queen of the Classics") or l'Enfer du Nord ("Hell of the North") is traditionally one week after the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and was first raced in 1896.

Ardennes classics

  • Amstel Gold Race ( Netherlands) – normally held mid-April. First run in 1966, it is one of the three "Ardennes Classics."
  • La Flèche Wallonne ( Belgium) – First run in 1936, Walloon Arrow is traditionally held mid-week between the Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Second "Ardennes Classic."
  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège ( Belgium) – late April. La Doyenne, the oldest Classic, was first held in 1892. It is the third "Ardennes Classic."

Together, the Cobbled classics and the Ardennes classics form the Spring Classics, all held in April.

Other classics

Season openers

Some past Classics are no longer run. These include the gruelling 560 km, partly motor-paced event, Bordeaux-Paris, run from 1891 to 1988.

The 'Monuments'

  • Milan-Sanremo ( Italy) – the first true Classic of the year, its Italian name is La Primavera (the spring), this race is held in late March. First run in 1907.
  • Ronde van Vlaanderen ( Belgium) – also known as the "Tour of Flanders", the first of the 'Spring Classics', is raced in early April. First held in 1913.
  • Paris-Roubaix ( France) – the "Queen of the Classics" or l'Enfer du Nord ("Hell of the North") is traditionally one week after the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and was first raced in 1896.
  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège ( Belgium) – late April. La Doyenne, the oldest Classic, was first held in 1892 as an amateur event; a professional edition following in 1894.
  • Giro di Lombardia ( Italy) – also known as the "Race of the Falling Leaves", is held in October. Initially called the Milano-Milano in 1905, it became the Giro di Lombardia in 1907.

Only three riders have won all five 'Monument' one-day races during their careers: Roger De Vlaeminck, Rik Van Looy and Eddy Merckx, all three Belgians. With victories in all the other Monuments, Seán Kelly almost joined this group, finishing second in the Ronde van Vlaanderen on three occasions (1984,1986,1987). Dutch rider Hennie Kuiper won each Monument, except Liège-Bastogne-Liège in which he finished second in 1980.

Cyclists who won more than three 'Monuments'
Riders M-S RvV P-R L-B-L GdL Total
Eddy Merckx ( Belgium) 7 2 3 5 2 19
Roger De Vlaeminck ( Belgium) 3 1 4 1 2 11
Seán Kelly ( Ireland) 2 2 2 3 9
Costante Girardengo ( Italy) 6 3 9
Fausto Coppi ( Italy) 3 1 5 9
Rik Van Looy ( Belgium) 1 2 3 1 1 8
Gino Bartali ( Italy) 4 3 7
Henri Pélissier ( France) 1 2 3 6
Alfredo Binda ( Italy) 2 4 6
Fred De Bruyne ( Belgium) 1 1 1 3 6
Francesco Moser ( Italy) 1 3 2 6
Moreno Argentin ( Italy) 1 4 1 6
Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) 3 3 6
Gaetano Belloni ( Italy) 2 3 5
Rik Van Steenbergen ( Belgium) 1 2 2 5
Bernard Hinault ( France) 1 2 2 5
Michele Bartoli ( Italy) 1 2 2 5
Paolo Bettini ( Italy) 1 2 2 5
Tom Boonen ( Belgium) 2 3 5
Louison Bobet ( France) 1 1 1 1 4
Germain Derycke ( Belgium) 1 1 1 1 4
Felice Gimondi ( Italy) 1 1 2 4
Walter Godefroot ( Belgium) 2 1 1 4
Hennie Kuiper ( Netherlands) 1 1 1 1 4
Jan Raas ( Netherlands) 1 2 1 4
Erik Zabel ( Germany) 4 4
Monument winners since 1980
Year Milan-Sanremo Ronde van Vlaanderen Paris-Roubaix Liège-Bastogne-Liège Giro di Lombardia
1980 Pierino Gavazzi ( Italy) Michel Pollentier ( Belgium) Francesco Moser ( Italy) Bernard Hinault ( France) Fons De Wolf ( Belgium)
1981 Fons De Wolf ( Belgium) Hennie Kuiper ( Netherlands) Bernard Hinault ( France) Josef Fuchs ( Switzerland) Hennie Kuiper ( Netherlands)
1982 Marc Gomez ( France) René Martens ( Belgium) Jan Raas ( Netherlands) Silvano Contini ( Italy) Giuseppe Saronni ( Italy)
1983 Giuseppe Saronni ( Italy) Jan Raas ( Netherlands) Hennie Kuiper ( Netherlands) Steven Rooks ( Netherlands) Seán Kelly ( Ireland)
1984 Francesco Moser ( Italy) Johan Lammerts ( Netherlands) Seán Kelly ( Ireland) Seán Kelly ( Ireland) Bernard Hinault ( France)
1985 Hennie Kuiper ( Netherlands) Eric Vanderaerden ( Belgium) Marc Madiot ( Belgium) Moreno Argentin ( Italy) Seán Kelly ( Ireland)
1986 Seán Kelly ( Ireland) Adri van der Poel ( Netherlands) Seán Kelly ( Ireland) Moreno Argentin ( Italy) Gianbattista Baronchelli ( Italy)
1987 Erich Mächler ( Switzerland) Claude Criquielion ( Belgium) Eric Vanderaerden ( Belgium) Moreno Argentin ( Italy) Moreno Argentin ( Italy)
1988 Laurent Fignon ( France) Eddy Planckaert ( Belgium) Dirk Demol ( Belgium) Adri van der Poel ( Netherlands) Charly Mottet ( France)
1989 Laurent Fignon ( France) Edwig van Hooydonck ( Belgium) Jean-Marie Wampers ( Belgium) Seán Kelly ( Ireland) Tony Rominger ( Switzerland)
1990 Gianni Bugno ( Italy) Moreno Argentin ( Italy) Eddy Planckaert ( Belgium) Eric van Lancker ( Belgium) Gilles Delion ( France)
1991 Claudio Chiappucci ( Italy) Edwig van Hooydonck ( Belgium) Marc Madiot ( France) Moreno Argentin ( Italy) Seán Kelly ( Ireland)
1992 Seán Kelly ( Ireland) Jacky Durand ( France) Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle ( France) Dirk de Wolf ( Belgium) Tony Rominger ( Switzerland)
1993 Maurizio Fondriest ( Italy) Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle ( France) Rolf Sørensen ( Denmark) Pascal Richard ( Switzerland)
1994 Giorgio Furlan ( Italy) Gianni Bugno ( Italy) Andrei Tchmil ( Ukraine) Evgeni Berzin ( Russia) Viatcheslav Bobrik ( Russia)
1995 Laurent Jalabert ( France) Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) Franco Ballerini ( Italy) Mauro Gianetti ( Switzerland) Gianni Faresin ( Italy)
1996 Gabriele Colombo ( Italy) Michele Bartoli ( Italy) Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) Pascal Richard ( Switzerland) Andrea Tafi ( Italy)
1997 Erik Zabel ( Germany) Rolf Sørensen ( Denmark) Frédéric Guesdon ( France) Michele Bartoli ( Italy) Laurent Jalabert ( France)
1998 Erik Zabel ( Germany) Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) Franco Ballerini ( Italy) Michele Bartoli ( Italy) Oscar Camenzind ( Switzerland)
1999 Andrei Tchmil ( Belgium) Peter Van Petegem ( Belgium) Andrea Tafi ( Italy) Frank Vandenbroucke ( Belgium) Mirko Celestino ( Italy)
2000 Erik Zabel ( Germany) Andrei Tchmil ( Belgium) Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) Paolo Bettini ( Italy) Raimondas Rumšas ( Lithuania)
2001 Erik Zabel ( Germany) Gianluca Bortolami ( Italy) Servais Knaven ( Netherlands) Oscar Camenzind ( Switzerland) Danilo Di Luca ( Italy)
2002 Mario Cipollini ( Italy) Andrea Tafi ( Italy) Johan Museeuw ( Belgium) Paolo Bettini ( Italy) Michele Bartoli ( Italy)
2003 Paolo Bettini ( Italy) Peter Van Petegem ( Belgium) Peter Van Petegem ( Belgium) Tyler Hamilton ( United States) Michele Bartoli ( Italy)
2004 Óscar Freire ( Spain) Steffen Wesemann ( Switzerland) Magnus Bäckstedt ( Sweden) Davide Rebellin ( Italy) Damiano Cunego ( Italy)
2005 Alessandro Petacchi ( Italy) Tom Boonen ( Belgium) Tom Boonen ( Belgium) Alexander Vinokourov ( Kazakhstan) Paolo Bettini ( Italy)
2006 Filippo Pozzato ( Italy) Tom Boonen ( Belgium) Fabian Cancellara ( Switzerland) Alejandro Valverde ( Spain) Paolo Bettini ( Italy)
2007 Óscar Freire ( Spain) Alessandro Ballan ( Italy) Stuart O'Grady ( Australia) Danilo Di Luca ( Italy) Damiano Cunego ( Italy)
2008 Fabian Cancellara ( Switzerland) Stijn Devolder ( Belgium) Tom Boonen ( Belgium) Alejandro Valverde ( Spain) Damiano Cunego ( Italy)
2009 Mark Cavendish ( United Kingdom) Stijn Devolder ( Belgium) Tom Boonen ( Belgium) Andy Schleck ( Luxembourg) Philippe Gilbert ( Belgium)

See also

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