Calendar Dictated by History, Tradition and Legend (Part
part two of the article we continue our look at the 2005 elite
pro racing calendar with a brief look back at how we got here.
For your convenience a Pro-Tour calendar summary is provided
here: Schedule Click Here
racing year typically starts with early leg breaking races
in the warmer climates
of the Mediterranean
and Adriatic coasts. At the end of February the serious stuff
starts with the Het Volk in Belgium. Cold, damp and very
windy weather conditions often greet the riders here. With
and the famous Belgian ‘Murs’ (walls) on hand,
the contenders are soon sorted from the pretenders. This
event usually points out the in-form riders who are going
to dominate the upcoming Spring Classics season, which starts
over three weeks later with Milan-San Remo (the first of
the five monuments) on March 19th. Stage racing begins with
(the famous “race to the sun”) and the Tirreno-Adriatico
in early March. Already you will begin to see who is going
to shine in the Grand Tours.
we are treated to three of the five monuments
(Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege)
as two Pro-Tour stage races, the Tour of the Basque Country
in Spain and the Tour of Romandy in Switzerland. Also squeezed
the month of April we see the traditional classics of Ghent-Wevelgem,
Amstel Gold and the Fleche Wallone. Last year Johann Museeuw
raced the final kilometers of his fabulous career at Flanders
To most Belgians
the ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’ (Tour
of Flanders) is the world championship and to win it and/or
Paris-Roubaix puts a rider into the realm of a cycling
of champions). At the end of April the endless climbs of
the Belgian Ardennes host the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the
the classics. In 2004 a new record was established when
Davide Rebellin won Amstel, the Fleche and the Liege. It is
bet that we will not see that feat repeated this year.
Tour of Romandy (which starts April 26th) sees the close
of the spring classics and early stage race season.
now greet the riders and early summer is heralded with
the first three-week Grand National Tour, the Giro d’Italia
(May 7-29). This is a race run through gorgeous countryside
with ancient and magnificent architecture. From the hot
and rugged terrain of south Italy to the mighty Dolomites
and Italian Alps
in the north, this is truly a Grand Tour.
June is the
month when TdF riders make their final preparations.
Their race choices are critical and include the Tour
of Switzerland and the Dauphine Libere. Due to the
Pro-Tour a new feature
on this year’s calendar of major events is a
team time trial to be held in Eindhoven, Holland on
comes July which belongs to the greatest
of them all - the Tour de France. Not much else is
level as all eyes are firmly fixed on “Le Tour.” Lance
Armstrong could well continue to target yet another
win but there are indications that he is eyeing other
goals in 2005. If he
opts to sit this one out we will be treated to a very
different Tour to those of the past six years and speculation
next TdF champion will be fierce. Stay tuned.
August brings the single day riders back into the
spotlight with Spain’s San Sebastian and Germany’s
HEW Cyclassics (actually on July 31 this year). As
a result of the new Pro-Tour,
the venerable G.P. Plouay in France has been elevated
in status and will feature prominently on the Pro-Tour
teams agendas (August
28th). Stage race riders will however get no respite
in August with two Pro-Tour events on hand - the
Benelux Tour and the Tour
welcomes that beautiful race the Vuelta a Espana (which starts
August 27th this year). Spain
is a magical
their talented, bronzed riders bring great passion
to this delicious race as it traverses a truly
Those not sent
to Spain will be directed to the other key Pro-Tour
in September – The Tour of Poland (Sept.
12th – 18th).
For the riders of these two Tours there will be
only a few days to recover before they head off
for the World Championships
( Sept. 21st – 25th).
After a very
long season the weary riders are once again faced with more
important appointments during
At the very
beginning of the month (Oct. 2nd) we start with
the Championship of Zuerich which has also been
Mid-month the “rouleurs” face the
very long and pan flat Paris-Tours. Finally the
ends with the “race of the falling leaves”,
the Tour of Lombardy (last of the five monuments).
As it circles the lakes region of Switzerland
and Italy, the race entourage
melts into some of the most spectacular scenery
in the world.
Not so long
ago racing would go into hibernation at the end of October.
and Malaysia are now filling the winter months
with many riders from the European peloton
to maintain and build form for the next season
It is a long
road from February’s
Het Volk to October’s
Lombardy. Here we have only brushed upon the
great race names of our sport. All year there are literally
hundreds of other
races that are contested with the same great
energy. They provide race training for the elite riders and
a path into the elite
ranks for everyone else. You can find comprehensive
listings of the international road calendar on many of your
web sites. Our listing below focuses on the
of the primary events on the calendar:
Single Day Races
At the top of the list are the classic “Five Monuments”.
To win one of these establishes your place in history. These
- Milan-San Remo first run in 1907.
- Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) first run in 1913 and
now the longest continually running race (it was run throughout
first run in 1896 as a paced event and then became unpaced
first run in 1892 and the oldest of the classics.
di Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy) first run in 1905.
These races are (year first run):
- Het Volk
- Amstel Gold
- Fleche Wallone
- HEW Cyclassics
- Clasica San
The Grand Tours
These need little introduction but in order of prestige
these are the Tour de France which was first
run 1903, the Giro d’Italia
(1909) and the Vuelta a Espana (1935).
These are the only three weeklong races on the calendar.
It’s not so easy to classify next in the pecking order
of stage races but they would include
the Paris-Nice (1933), Tirreno-Adriatico (1966), Tour of
Catalonia (1911), Criterium
International (1932), Tour of the Basque
Country (1924), Tour of Romandy (1947), Four days of Dunkirk
(1955), Criterium Du
Dauphine Libere (1947), Tour of Switzerland
(1933), Tour of Luxembourg (1935) and the Tour of Holland
The Pro-Tour will replace the former
UCI World Cup series in 2005. There
competition and comprise
the primary events for the elite
Pro-Tour teams. An overview
is provided HERE.
is truly a ‘Calendar
Dictated by History, Tradition and