The Monument Classics – a location guide for cycling’s oldest one day races

April 12, 2019

Within the cycling world, the Monuments are a series of prestigious one-day races which have a long history and high difficulty level stemming from the amount of endurance needed. Each race has its own defining features and tours around some of Europe’s most luscious landscapes. We’ve broken them down so you can get an idea for the routes, as well as the start and finish points for any budding cyclist who fancies capturing some of the action.


La Primavera – 23rd March 2019

Kicking off the season of Monument Classics is La Primavera (The Spring), affectionately named after its late March timing. As the southernmost race of all the classics, La Primavera showcases the northern climes of Italy and finishes relatively close to the French border near Nice. The route kicks off from the heart of Milan, gathering the racers on the Piazza del Duomo at the foot of the imposing Duomo di Milano. From there, the race strikes down south and out of the city toward the Ligurian Coast, rewarding the racers with some stunning ocean views before they take on the three short hill climbs which punctuate the route – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta. The final climb takes the race directly into San Remo, the seaside resort and its main shopping street – the Via Roma – which marks the finish line.


Ronde van Vlaanderen – 7th April 2019

Both a Monument and Cobbled Classic cycling event, the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) takes the cyclists through the gorgeous Flemish region of Belgium. The port city of Antwerp and its lovely renaissance architecture act as the beginning of the route, gathering all the riders before they head down to the flatlands of West-Flanders between Ghent and Brussels. This gorgeous landscape has also earned this classic the nickname of Vlaanderens Mooiste (Flanders’ Finest) due to how it showcases some of the finest views Flanders has to offer. Everything wraps up nicely in the East-Flanders city of Oudenaarde, where the final two climbs of the race – the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg – are done twice, making both of these a great place to catch some of the cycling action.


Paris-Roubaix – 14th April 2019

Famous for its rough terrain and tough routes, the Paris-Roudabix is another classic that comes under the dual Monument and Cobbled banner. This classic has earned a few ominous nicknames due to the high number of cobbled stretches throughout the race, but the scenery along this route is tough to beat as it takes you from northern France up to the Belgian border. Although the original starting block was Paris, the modern race now starts just over 50 miles north in the quaint town of Compiègne, winding through the French countryside before arriving in Roubaix just east of Lille. Here the cyclists fight for the finish at the Vélodrome André-Pétrieux which has been the site of the finish line since 1943 and displays commemorative plaques of all the previous winners.


La Doyenne – 28 April 2019

During the last days of spring, cyclists embark on the final race of the season which takes them on a tour through the Ardennes region of Belgium. The race consists of a round trip from Liège, sitting low in the valley of the Meuse, over to Bastogne in Belgian Luxembourg. Racing through the Ardennes gives the route a scenic backdrop of verdant hills, vast valley and fast flowing rivers, while also contributing to the many climbs which populate the second leg of the race. 2019 also marks the move of the finish line back to its original position at the centre of Liège after it was moved to Ana, an industrial suburb, back in 1992. The final stretch into the city will no doubt have an electric atmosphere as the competitors vie for first place, and the move of the finish line will make capturing the beginning and end of this race as easy as ever.


Giro Il Lomardia – 12th September 2019

Although Il Lombardia is still counted with the other Monument Classics, this one sits apart from the others in the cycling calendar. Taking place in autumn rather than spring, this route takes the riders around the beautiful Lake Como in Italy’s Lombardy region before journeying south to the cobblestone streets of Bergamo where the race wraps up. There are several climbs situated at different points around Lake Como, offering panoramic views of the Italian Alps and azure waters below. Due to its occurrence later in the year, Il Lombardia has earned the name Race of the Falling Leaves as certain stretches of the route will be littered with golden leaves which create an eye-catching trail as the racers fly past.


Whether you plan on catching the action at any of the Monument Classics this year or fancy riding some of the routes to get a glimpse of the sights the riders see along the way, grabbing a DFDS ferry over gives you the freedom to get around and take your bike along with you. Check out our ferries to Belgium via Dunkirk or Calais and plan out the best route for you.

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