Question Question of the Week: What is your favourite race of the season and why?

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This is really tricky to answer as I like different races in very different ways.
Strade Bianche has been mentioned quite often and I have an absolute soft spot for that race. Incredible racing, absolutely unique, the competition is usually really good, there is just so much to love there. But I'd argue the bigger races just have that certain vibe of epicness to them that simply put them above SB. Like, if something exciting happens in SB and the exact same thing happens in ParisRoubaix, it will feel even more epic in the latter.

To an even bigger extent that happens in Grand Tours. I still get goose bumps thinking of the final days of the 2016 giro and really if you look at it, the racing was good but not exactly better than what your average cobbles classic offers. But it's the almost 3 weeks prior that make those good moments absolutely great and unforgettable. And so, yeah, my pick probably goes to my favorite grand tour, the giro (I know, super unpopular choice on this forum...) because grand tours offer something that I still haven't experienced from any other sport event. 3 whole weeks of being stuck to the screen, never knowing what happens next and being aware that, how unlikely it may seem, the next corner, the next climb or the next descent could completely change the race. And so for three weeks every year my mind is completely fixated on this bycicle race in Italy and I still cannot believe, it won't be like that again this year.
 
If there is one period in the season I look forward the most to it's the combo of Ronde and Roubaix on back-to-back weekends with Itzulia during the week between them. Impossible to choose between Ronde and Roubaix when those races as a whole are considered, but the riders entering Arenberg forest is probably the most iconic single moment of the entire cycling season.
 
This is a very nice Question of the Week. Who can pick just one race? For me, Paris-Roubaix is special among the Classics. The course is so demanding that whoever wins it is a hero. It can't be won without extraordinary courage, the ability to persevere through lots of suffering and maybe some setbacks along the way, and a boatload of talent. Among the grand tours, the Tour de France was the first cycling race that captured my attention. My favorite stage remains Stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France--Andy Schleck's bold ride up the Col du Galibier. That day, there were many heroes: Andy Schleck, for the ride of his life; Tommy Voeckler, who somehow managed to hold onto the maillot jaune; and Cadel Evans, who saved his hopes for an eventual GC victory.
 
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Tour De France for its importance and quality of field.
Giro for its less predictable racing and quality of parcours.
Paris-Nice for consistently giving us at least reasonably interesting racing each day (and some highly interesting final stages in recent years).
 
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For me it’s Milano san remo. The long build up to the fireworks at the end. You don’t know who will win it till the last 20 metres usually. The setting the weather the route and the poggio make this race for me.
 
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ronde van vlaanderen. it's hard to explain why, but to me, being an American so far away from the event, those roads just feel like hallowed ground. i really hope to visit one day and see the race and ride some of the route.
 
Always has been and likely always will be the Tour.

I remember as a teenager in the summer. I would really piss my friends off as we'd be playing Football or Tennis and then about 10 mins before the Channel 4 highlights would come on, I'd tell them all laters and run/bike home to watch it. It was a running joke as we got older.

I'd do it when we started to go on holidays together too. Culminating in seeing the Tour at the Alpe (ITT) in 2004.

I have grown to love the classics of course. I'd put Flanders and P-R as my co-favorites.
 
My favorite race is probably the Giro. Maybe because is the first Grand Tour and routes are rather challenging. I hate it when the weather affects the race. But nowadays is the only race where you can see very hard mountain stages. In no other race you can see that anymore.

Another one that has caught my attention lately is Paris-Nice. Maybe because is the first WT 1 week race of the season. It has usually very nice racing even for the flat stages.

The best 1 day race for me is Paris-Roubaix. It almost always provides a very good spectacle. Honorable mention goes to Lombardia.
 
One day race: Parix Roubaix (for the attrition and strain, for the pave of course and the gasp before the roar of the crowd at the apotheosis of the velodrome finish - it's the Hell of the North, need there be said more), followed by Strade Bianche (incredible parcours and scenery and, if it rains, unbeatable drama - or at least equal to that of a rainy Paris Roubaix - the meteoric rise of which is just so, so justified and Italy deserves a so beautifully landscaped race) and the Ronde (incredible show and so beautifully representative of a region and it's people). Each of these events, for their particular beauty and striking character, are veritable archetypes of bike racing.

GT: Giro d'Italia (because I live in Italy, but am not from Italy, and it is almost always more interesting to watch than the Tour de France - although le Tour is le Tour as they say, even if I can no longer have the pleasure of reading Gianni Mura's (R.I.P.) brilliant articles covering le Grand Boucle in the midsummer heat of lazy July). Each region, from Sicily to Campania, from Lazio, Umbria, Toscana and the Marche, from Liguria, Piedmonte, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto offer a combination of incredible terrain with beautiful medieval towns to race through. Plus the tifosi along a Dolomite pass or at la vetta of the Stelvio or Zoncolan electrify the spectacle.

Other races: World Championships (incredible competition and dramatic build-up to the climactic final laps), Milano-San Remo (la Primavera lives up to its Botticellian-Vivaldian mythos, a mixture of peculiar beauty, melancholy and poetry, which along the Ligurian Riviera is no less of a spectacle than Roubaix, Strade and Flanders, while no cycling season can be said to have "officially begun" without it), Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nice, Dauphine, Lieges, Lombardia
 
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ronde van vlaanderen. it's hard to explain why, but to me, being an American so far away from the event, those roads just feel like hallowed ground. i really hope to visit one day and see the race and ride some of the route.
I’m with you. I got the chance to ride some of the route in 2019, including the Muur and the Bosberg. Great day. I’ve never seen the race however, someday soon, maybe 2022.
 
Paris-Roubaix quite easily for me as far as one-day races go. Blood sweat and tears are pretty much a guarantee every single year. Epic cobbles, dust, confusion, stress, raw power, material durability and the iconic velodrome finish.

The build-up to it and the "terror" and excitement that it's nickname "The Hell of the North" elicits is unmatched imo. The best words you'll ever hear in cycling is "Welcome to a Sunday in Hell".

Plus, it's the "last" chance of the season for the "cobble specialists" to get a big win or to get revenge for a painful or unfortunate loss in RVV. Guaranteed spectacle.

RVV is second, Strade is a close third.
 
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I think the unique challenge of Strada Bianchi and the entry list is probably my No1; what other race can monument winners, Grand Tour winners (including the last 2 TdF winners) plus multiple CX World champions all be classed as possible winners?

The Giro is may favourite GT; and may favourite one week stage race is Paris-Nice; a bite size version of the Tour, and often more entertaining.
 
I think the unique challenge of Strada Bianchi and the entry list is probably my No1; what other race can monument winners, Grand Tour winners (including the last 2 TdF winners) plus multiple CX World champions all be classed as possible winners?
There's a certain race that starts in the capital of Lombardy and finishes at the Riviera that not only has possible, but actual winners of all those categories (GT winners, monument winners, CX champs) plus another important one ( pure sprinters). ;)

And that's only one of the many reasons why MSR will always be my favorite race of the year. The slow build-up, the explosive final kilometers, the many iconic sights along the route (the Duomo, the Turchino, the seaside tunnels, the rocky capi, the narrow streets of Imperia, the hairpins of the Cipressa, the glasshouses of the Poggio, the lush beauty of the Riviera), the position in the season's calendar, the shear length of it. It's the perfect race.
 
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Still the Tour for me is unsurpassed as it bound up in being the race that made me fall in love with cycling and back in the early 90s the channel 4 highlights show was my only access to cycling outside the Olympics. That theme music is so iconic that it links past memories and present enjoyment. Plus its the biggest race in the calendar attracting the best of the best. It could have tougher and more imaginative parcours but that is my only quibble.

For one day races Strade is the most beautiful both in backdrop, racing and the varied field it attracts and finally this year we are getting more TV coverage that will only enhance its status as a massive race everyone wants to win.
 

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