The Classics are cycling’s biggest one day races, and for the most part take place in northern Europe in the spring. Known by a number of names – the spring Classics, the cobbled Classics, the northern Classics or simply the Classics – for many fans and riders alike these races are the best time of the year, in cycling and in life.
The Classics: which races make the cut?
There is often debate over what should and shouldn’t be counted as a Classic, but for the purposes of this guide we are including everything from the five Monuments down to the semi-Classics ridden by the top level WorldTour teams.
Pretty much anything that brings the Classics specialists to the fore or those races ridden in the lead-up to the headline events falls under our Classics umbrella. That’s not to say every race on the calendar will get more than a passing mention.
The spring Classics are often more entertaining than any given day of a Grand Tour or other stage race as big teams can’t kill off the excitement or viewing pleasure with metronomic control, nor can those with ambitions for the win sit back, limit their losses and make up for it the following day.
One-day races are all or nothing and are all the better for it.
This guide will tell you all you need to know about the Classics, including a run down of the key races, live television coverage, discussion of the Monuments and praise of the cobbles.
All the information about the 2023 spring Classics will be added and amended below as it becomes available.
Guide to the 2023 Classics: The key races, Classics live TV guide and race reports
Details are subject to change as information from race organisers and broadcasters becomes available
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Saturday 25th February 2023Where: Gent, Belgium; Ninove, BelgiumDistance: Men’s 207.3km / Women’s 132.2kmMost wins: Three – Joseph Bruyère, Ernest Sterckx, Peter Van Petegem / Two – Suzanne de Goede, Emma Johansson, Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van VleutenOmloop Het Nieuwsblad 2022 winners: Wout van Aert, Annemiek van VleutenLive TV coverage: Men’s 12:30-15:30 / Women’s 15:30-16:45; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport 2More information: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2023: Route, riders and all you need to know
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Sunday 26th February 2023Where: Brugsesteenweg (Kuurne), past Oudenaarde then towards Nederbrakel and back to KuurneDistance: 193kmMost wins: Three – Tom BoonenKuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2022 winner: Fabio JakobsenLive TV coverage: 13:30-16:00; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Tuesday 28th February 2023Where: Quaregnon to Dour, BelgiumDistance: Men’s 208.2km / Women’s 99.3kmMost wins: Three – Johan Capiot / Three – Chantal van den Broek-BlaakLe Samyn 2022 winners: Matteo Trentin / Emma NorsgaardLive TV coverage: Women’s 12:45-14:00 / Men’s 14:05-16:05; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Tadej Pogačar solos his way to a dominant victory at Strade Bianche 2022Chris Auld
When: Saturday 4th March 2023Where: Tuscany, ItalyDistance: Men’s 183.7km / Women’s 136kmMost wins: Three – Fabian Cancellara / Two – Annemiek van VleutenStrade Bianche 2022 winners: Tadej Pogačar / Lotte KopeckyLive TV coverage: Women’s 10:30-12:50 / Men’s 12:50-16:00; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport, Eurosport PlayerRead more: Mathieu van der Poel’s insane Strade Bianche watts revealed
MonumentWhen: Saturday 18th March 2023Where: Milan to San Remo, ItalyDistance: 294kmMost wins: Seven – Eddy MerckxMilan-San Remo 2022 winner: Matej MohoričLive TV coverage: 08:45-17:30; GCN+, Discovery+, EurosportRead more: A day in history: The epic 2013 Milan-San Remo
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Men’s – Wednesday 22nd March 2023 / Women’s – Thursday 23rd March 2023Where: Brugge to De Panne, BelgiumDistance: Men’s TBC / Women’s TBCMost wins: Five – Eric Vanderaerden Brugge-De Panne 2022 winners: Tim Merlier / Elisa BalsamoLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
E3 Saxo Bank Classic
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Friday 24th March 2023Where: Harelbeke, BelgiumDistance: 204kmE3 Saxo Bank Classic 2022 winner: Wout van AertMost wins: Five – Tom BoonenLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovey+, Eurosport
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Sunday 26th March 2023Where: Deinze (south of Gent) to WevelgemDistance: Men’s TBC / Women’s TBCGent-Wevelgem 2022 winners: Biniam Girmay / Elisa BalsamoMost wins: Three – Robert Van Eenaeme, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Mario Cipollini, Tom Boonen, Peter Sagan / Two – Kirsten WildLive TV coverage: Men’s / Women’s 13:00-14:00; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Dwars Door Vlaanderen
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Wednesday 29th March 2023Where: Men’s – Roeselare to Waregem, Belgium / Women’s – Waregem to Waregem, BelgiumDistance: Men’s 188.1km / Women’s 116.7kmDwars Door Vlaanderen 2022 winners: Mathieu van der Poel / Chiara ConsonniMost wins: Two each – 14 male riders / Three – Amy PietersLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Tadej Pogačar and Mathieu van der Poel duelling it out at the Tour of Flanders 2022Chris Auld
Tour of Flanders
Monument / Cobbled ClassicWhen: Sunday 2nd April 2023Where: Men’s – Bruges to Oudenaarde, Flanders, Belgium / Women’s – Markt (Oudenaarde) to Minderbroedersstraat (Oudenaarde)Distance: Men’s 273.4km / Women’s 158kmTour of Flanders 2022 winners: Mathieu van der Poel / Lotte KopeckyMost wins: Three – Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara / Two – Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel, Judith Arndt, Annemiek van VleutenLive TV coverage: Men’s TBC; Women’s TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, EurosportRead more: The Paterberg: Tour of Flanders’ instant classic
Cobbled ClassicWhen: Wednesday 5th April 2023Where: Men’s – Terneuzen to Schoten, Belgium / Women’s – Schoten, BelgiumDistance: Men’s 205.2km / Women’s 131.5kmScheldeprijs 2022 winners: Alexander Kristoff / Lorena WiebesMost wins: Four – Marcel Kittel / Two – Lorena WiebesLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN, Discovery+, Eurosport
Chris AuldChris Auld
Monument / Cobbled ClassicWhen: Saturday 8th April / Sunday 9th April 2023Where: Men’s – Compiègne to Roubaix Velodrome / Women’s – Denain to Roubaix VelodromeDistance: Men’s 256.6km / Women’s 145.4kmParis-Roubaix 2022 winners: Dylan van Baarle, Elisa Longo BorghiniMost wins: Four – Roger De Vlaeminck, Tom Boonen / One – Lizzie Deignan, Elisa Longo BorghiniLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN, Discovery+, EurosportRead more: Cobble hoppers: How to watch Paris-Roubaix in personRead even more: Paris-Roubaix Femmes: Inside Vélodrome André-Pétrieux
When: Wednesday 12th April 2023Where: Men’s – Leuven to Overijse, Belgium / Women’s – Lennik to OverijseDistance: Men’s 205.1km / Women’s 141.2kmBrabantse Pijl 2022 winners: Magnus Sheffield / Demi VolleringMost wins: Four – Edwig Van Hooydonck / Seven different winners in seven editions of the women’s raceLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Ardennes ClassicWhen: Sunday 16th April 2023Where: Men’s / Women’s – Maastricht to Valkenburg, NetherlandsDistance: Men’s 240km / Women’s 156kmAmstel Gold 2022 winners: Michał Kwiatkowski / Marta CavalliMost wins: Five – Jan RaasLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Ardennes ClassicWhen: Wednesday 19th April 2023Where: Men’s – Herve to Huy, Belgium / Women’s – Huy to Mur de Huy, BelgiumDistance: Men’s 194.2km / Women’s 131.5kmFlèche Wallonne 2022 winners: Dylan Teuns / Marta CavalliMost wins: Five – Alejandro Valverde / Seven – Anna van der BreggenLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Monument / Ardennes ClassicWhen: Sunday 23rd April 2023Where: Liège to Bastogne and back to Liège, BelgiumDistance: Men’s – 258.5km / Women’s – 140kmLiège-Bastogne-Liège 2022 winners: Remco Evenepoel / Annemiek van VleutenMost wins: Five – Eddy Merckx / Two – Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van VleutenLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, EurosportMore information: Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Route, riders and all you need to know Even more information: This falls on Robyn’s 25th birthday. Make it a good one.
When: Sunday 7th May 2023Where: Brittany, FranceDistance: 203.1kmTro-Bro Léon 2022 winner: Hugo HofstetterMost wins: Three – Philippe DalibardLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport, France 3Sportive review: Gallery: Hugo Hofstetter wins a wet and wild Tro-Bro Léon
MonumentWhen: Saturday 7th October 2023Where: Lombardy region, ItalyDistance: TBCMost recent winner: Tadej PogačarMost wins: Five – Fausto CoppiLive TV coverage: TBC; GCN+, Discovery+, Eurosport
Guide to the Classics: The Monuments
The Monument Classics are the five biggest one-day races on the calendar. They take place in three different countries, over cobbles, up and down climbs and often in the foulest of weather conditions. Alone of the five is Il Lombardia, which takes place in the autumn and after all three of cycling’s Grand Tours.
The Monuments are cycling’s oldest one-day races. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the oldest of the five races as it was first run in 1892, and has been named La Doyenne (‘The Old Lady’) to reflect this. The event comes after the cobbled races and is better suited to a tactically astute stage racer who’s brought their climbing legs.
Milan-San Remo is the first Monument of the year and is most noted for its length as riders cover around 300km. Some short, sharp climbs towards the end including the ascents of the Cipressa and Poggio make this one for the puncheurs and the punchier sprinters, but it still carries the nickname The Sprinters’ Classic.
The Tour of Flanders takes riders over the cobbles and bergs of Belgium’s Flemish north. One for the all-out Classics specialists, De Ronde is a huge draw for fans wanting to see the best riders giving it their all on the hellingen on their way to the finish line.
Paris-Roubaix, rightly named the Queen of the Classics and the Hell of the North, is a truly gruelling day out for the riders but an incredible spectacle for fans – both on the side of the road or watching at home on the television.
Guide to the Classics: The Cobbled Classics
The aforementioned Tour of Flanders – known locally as De Ronde van Vlaanderen – and Paris-Roubaix are chief among the cobbled Classics, but they are by no means the only pavé-strewn races.
In fact, many of the smaller Belgian races go over many of the same secteurs from race to race, including those used in De Ronde.
The four ‘cobbled classics’ are E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Only Tom Boonen in the men’s peloton holds the title of being the first, and only, rider to win all four races in one season (2012).
Like ice when wet and almost as slippery when dusty, cobbles can be hard to negotiate at the best of times let alone in a fast-moving pack of jostling riders.
Guide to the Classics: The Ardennes Classics
There are three Ardennes Classics, although one of them is actually in the Dutch Limburg region. The Dutch event comes first in the shape of the Amstel Gold Race, followed by La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a Monument.
The three races now take place over an eight-day period and tend to fall later in April, after the cobbled Classics. Due to the hilly terrain covered by the three races, previous victors include Tour de France overall winners, puncheurs and top domestiques.
As of 2017, the women’s peloton also has their trio of races for the Ardennes Classics. That same year, Anna van der Breggen became the first women rider to win all three in one season.
Tags: ClassicsIl LombardiaLiège-Bastogne-LiègeMilan-San RemoParis-RoubaixTour of Flanders