The Classics Issue
Welcome to Rouleur 118: the Classics Issue. If the Tour de France is the idealised version of cycling, with blue skies, warm temperatures, sublime mountain landscapes and the colourful swish of the peloton along beautifully engineered roads, the Classics are more like real life.
The great one-day races of Belgium and northern Europe – the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, E3, Gent-Wevelgem, Liège-Bastogne-Liège et al – are gritty, monochromatic affairs. They take place on farm roads, with all the attendant unglamorous sights and smells, in muddy, unspectacular landscapes where the trees are still bare in early spring. It’s probably raining, and it’s definitely chilly.
We dream of the Tour de France; the Classics are more like everyday life. But they are also epic in their own way. The racing follows an entirely different pattern to the Tour. The Tour is about energy-saving and patience; in the Classics, especially in the modern era, who dares wins. And if whoever dares loses, well, there’s another race in a few days’ time. Issue 118 celebrates all things Classics, from the WorldTour riders who have made their mark on these cobbled roads to the places that bring these places to life.
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