5 Reasons Why You Should Tackle the Monuments of Cycling

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Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Il Lombardia - these mythical races are unlike many of the grand tours; they have a special place amongst pro riders and cycling fans alike. Those who conquer them have their name in history alongside riders such as Eddy Mercx, Fausto Coppi and Bernard Hinault. Monuments du Cyclisme pays homage to these classic races and invites you to discover the places, history and legend behind them.

1/ For the History

The Mur de Huy and the Poggio de Sanremo are famous for their grueling gradients, this is where the most exciting and decisive attacks happen during the Classics. Eddy Mercx won the Classicissima in 1972 after dropping his chasers along the Poggio. Claudy Criquielon achieved legendary status by doing the same, this time on the most famous corner of the Mur. Riding these sections is like following the wheels of history.

2/ For the Challenge

The Classics are difficult races. Sometimes due to their distances, road surface, weather conditions or all three. There are certain climbs with gradients so steep the riders seem to defy what’s possible and question whether this is sport or a circus act. The Mur de Sormano featured in Iil Lomardia is 2km long and averages 15.5%, ramping up to 27% on one section! It takes courage, the right gearing and a whole load of suffering to reach the top first.

3/ To Live the Race

Watching a Monument on TV is exciting, but the medium does little to portray the real atmosphere and sheer difficulty of the terrain. Climbs look less steep, cobbles look smoother, you can’t hear the crowds or take in the scents of the race, grilled food and wet asphalt. If you haven’t experienced the brutal Arenberg or Koppenberg first hand, it’s hard to understand what the riders endure through a TV screen. If you’ve climbed the Paterberg, you’ll see why Sep Vanmarcke failed during the Ronde in 2016 and why Sagan’s attack was such a perfectly executed racing tactic.

4/ For the Invitation to Travel

If you weren’t a cycling fan, would you visit the suburbs of Liége? The journey on a Classics route means you can lead at your own pace, discovering beautiful places along the way. Climbing the harsh ascents at your own pace, stopping to take photos or have a long break and pick up some of those frites or even seeing how close you can get to the segment leaderboards and times of André Greipel or Vicenzo Nibali!

5/ To Join the Club

Paris-Roubaix is the only race where most Pros would be pleased to reach the finish line in one piece, unbroken and fit for another race - regardless of their general ranking. For us amateurs, each classics route is an extraordinary challenge. Completing Liége-Bastogne-Liége or Milan-Sanremo is no easy undertaking, and those that do have entry into the Monuments Club, exclusive for the select few. Will you do it? Will you succeed?

Complete list of Monuments Segments

MONUMENTS DU CYCLISME

> ORDER THE BOOK (French)

JOIN THE MONUMENTS CLUB
strava.com/clubs/monumentscc


Photos by Jochen Hoops

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  • Gael Laval

    And when do you propose the mythic race as one segment ?