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The 6th greatest classics.

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Most prestigious non-Monument classics?

  • Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Votes: 3 2.8%
  • Strade Bianche

    Votes: 47 43.9%
  • Gent-Wevelgem

    Votes: 15 14.0%
  • Amstel Gold Race

    Votes: 10 9.3%
  • Flèche Wallonne

    Votes: 18 16.8%
  • Tre Valli Varesine

    Votes: 2 1.9%
  • Milano-Torino

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • Paris-Tours

    Votes: 8 7.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 2.8%

  • Total voters
    107
Gigs_98 said:
I think it's between AGR, FW and GW. Strade Bianche is an absolutely great race and might be up there one day, but right now I really can't rate a 10 year old race as high as big races with a lot of tradition.

Speaking of tradition, GW used to be between Ronde and Roubaix for many years so it was bit like Scheldeprijs now but with more interesting terrain. And even now I don't get the impression that E3 is a less important race.
 
Can't vote Amstel considering how boring of a race that has been lately (still hope for the new route).

Strade is a bit short and is very new. Probably can't vote for that either, but its the best race.

E3 is a major one day race for me. Along with Strade it always delivers and the best and well rounded riders can win there (Thomas, Kwito and GVA 3 latest winners).

Fléche is really a glorified hill sprint. Same story as with Amstel for me, too boring, but it really does crown the best 3 minute w/kg rider so in that ways its unique.

G-W is a proper race again finally, but I've always rated E-3 over G-W as far as tuneups ahead of Flanders and P-R simply because it has been a much better race. Consider Boonen + Cance exhibitions etc.

So in short, I don't really know, but there's no question of which race(s) I enjoy to watch the most, so I'll go with the entertainment value and say Strade. Altho I think Amstel would be the most objective race.
 
Definitely Strade. It has a great combination of cobbled classic and Ardennes classic riders who can compete for the win. It has a great route for early attacking while still having a hard finale.

The finale of FW is very fun to watch, but what good is it as a "great" classic if there isn't any interesting build up.

The poll ain't workin.
 
Re:

Valv.Piti said:
Can't vote Amstel considering how boring of a race that has been lately (still hope for the new route).

Strade is a bit short and is very new. Probably can't vote for that either, but its the best race.

E3 is a major one day race for me. Along with Strade it always delivers and the best and well rounded riders can win there (Thomas, Kwito and GVA 3 latest winners).

Fléche is really a glorified hill sprint. Same story as with Amstel for me, too boring, but it really does crown the best 3 minute w/kg rider so in that ways its unique.

G-W is a proper race again finally, but I've always rated E-3 over G-W as far as tuneups ahead of Flanders and P-Rsimply because it has been a much better race. Consider Boonen + Cance exhibitions etc.

So in short, I don't really know, but there's no question of which race(s) I enjoy to watch the most, so I'll go with the entertainment value and say Strade. Altho I think Amstel would be the most objective race.

That's the thing though: Gent-Wevelgem shouldn't be viewed as a tune up for the coming races because it isn't, it's a classic with a different identity and history. Prijs Vlandeeren on the other hand, is almost a dress rehearsal for Ronde. So yes, Gent Wevelgem is a worse prep race, but that's because it isn't a prep race.

Flèche isn't great, I agree, and I never really watch it as it's on a Wednesday nowadays. However it did use to be different, and much less of an uphill sprint. Amstel is still fairly young, only fifty years old or so, but prestigious. I love Strade Bianche but it's too young and a bit too short. So I'll go Gent Wevelgem.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Gent-Wevelgem for me, especially last couple of years 260km and all the cobbled riders close to peak shape. I don't see any other race with similar history, difficulty and relevant riders in peak shape riding it. Actually, Amstel is kind of similar, it also has a difficult route, 260km length and all the hilly riders in great shape, but it's been a glorified uphill sprint in recent years. Hopefully with the route change the racing can live up to its prestige a bit.

If Strade in the future will have some more history and a longer route, it's definitely up there.

If Flèche gets a proper route back, it would be up there as well, given its history and the field it attracts. But all these other classics challenge riders in various ways; they require amazing endurance, the ability to deal with whatever obstacles the specific classic has, often some tactical nous, you have to either be so strong to be able to finish solo or have a sprint as well (and one after a hard race mind you). Whereas Flèche in its current form only requires people to be able to do an uphill sprint, it's hardly different from a stage in a stage race with a murito finish, except for the field it attracts. I can understand the charm of it and the sprint up Huy is always a great sight, but being only an uphill sprint really isn't enough for a proper classic as far as I'm concerned. It's a shame though, because Flèche used to be a proper classic.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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There's only one correct answer and I'll explain why.

What makes a classic a classic? There are several key factors that determine whether a one-day race is a classic or not.

The first of these factors is length. A classic differentiates itself from other races by its length. It should be somewhere between 230-300km. This rules out the vast majority of one-day races. The only ones remaining, besides the five Monuments, are Gent-Wevelgem, the Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Tours.

The second factor is World Tour status. If a classic is one of the most prestigious one-day races then it needs to part of the World Tour. This sadly rules out Paris-Tours. If you ask me, it's almost criminal that this race isn't part of the World Tour.

The third factor is history. The word classic refers to something that is old or something that has a lot of history behind it, so this can't be compromised on. Gent-Wevelgem was created in 1934 and the Amstel Gold Race "only" in 1966. At least 50 editions should have passed before a race can be considered a classic imo, but your mileage may vary. Gent-Wevelgem clearly has the upper hand here. This rules out Strade Bianche.

The fourth factor is the course itself. What makes the race stand out? Gent-Wevelgem features famous cobbled hills like the Kemmelberg, roads that are often exposed to the wind and the plugstreets (gravel roads). Gent-Wevelgem is a race that honours the victims of the First World War. The race passes through Ieper and the Menepoort. We can also see the many iconic graveyards of soldiers who died during World War I. The white gravestones leave a big impression on anyone who sees them. The scenery of this race is simply beautiful and iconic. The Amstel Gold Race is famous for the Cauberg and that's pretty much all that can be said about the course itself. Gent-Wevelgem has the upper-hand here as well. Gent-Wevelgem has been a very exciting race last few years while the AGR has been a dull affair.

The fifth factor is the field. A classic needs strong cyclists. Both the AGR and G-W have a very strong field with riders like Sagan, Gilbert, Boonen, Greg van Avermaet, Kristoff, Degenkolb, Kwiatkowski, etc.
They're mostly equal in this regard if you ask me.

The sixth factor is a weekend slot. As much people as possible should be able to watch it. So Saturday or Sunday is a must. A race that takes place on Wednesday is simply not important enough.

So to conclude: Gent-Wevelgem is the sixth most important one-day race (that isn't a championship).

As for Flèche Wallonne, it lacks the length and a weekend slot. It's also a very boring race that always ends the same way. It needs to change its route if it wants to regain some of its former prestige. Perhaps it should take place on the Sunday after Liège-Bastogne-Liège and make it longer again. Don't finish on the Mur de Huy anymore, it's what makes the race so incredibly predictable.
 
But El Pistolero has a good point.

E3 is always a fun race but just a lesser version of De Ronde with many of the same climbs. It's a warm-up race. The reason why I didn't included it.

Gent-Wevelgem is an unique race which characterised by the wind, the passage to De Moeren, and of course the Kemmelberg. It's also older and longer and serves as a memorial for the soldiers of WWI.

And the fact that Paris-Tours isn't on the World Tour is a disgrace. They also removed the climbs in the final making it a Kittel race. It's a disgrace.
 
Strade Bianche without a doubt. Beautiful scenery, spectacular finish on steep, tight, old city roads and it's always hard enough to blow the field to smithereens before the end. It's like a condensed combination of Paris-Roubaix and Liege Bastogne Liege, just prettier. Probably my favourite race of the year, apart from Paris-Roubaix.

Well, it's the best one day race in the poll. I wouldn't call it a classic, though. it's too young still. Definitely has potential to become an all-time great race in the future.
 
Going by feeling alone, I'm definitely on the Strade Bianche bandwagon. Differentiating factor with the sterrato, absolutely beautiful region. I do agree it needs more length, but that Siena finale is something future generations will cherish as much as the Roubaix velodrome, I
think.

I will confess that I was mostly a GT follower for many years. I'd say only for the past 7 or so years I've paid proper attention to spring classics, and even so, that mostly refers to Sanremo, Ronde, Roubaix and the Ardennes trio - I did not pay much mind to the other cobbled classics and I don't think I've ever followed Gent-Wevelgem, which many posters have praised as the most deserving of the title of 6th monument (or 6th most important classic race). Only this past couple of years have I made a point of watching E3 and Dwars Door Vlaanderen, for example. I definitely could use with a few more years of experience with the spring classics to be more sure of this opinion...

However, I do feel confident that Fléche as it is today isn't it. Nor is it Paris-Tours (it barely registers on my radar, I can honestly say I've been more interested in the Canadian classics and Plouay than I've been in PT).Furthermore, I feel that the interest generated by Liége is due to its history and the rider interest it generates - the race itself has been disappointing to me more often than not. Amstel does stand out as the only proper Dutch classic. Same with San Sebastián which I feel should be more relevant given the enormous Euskadi cycling tradition.

So In my limited knowledge, going by feeling alone and taking history into account, this is as things stand for me at the present time:

1 - Paris - Roubaix
2 - Ronde van Vlaanderen
3 - Milano-Sanremo
4 - Liége-Bastogne-Liége
5 - Giro di Lombardia
6 - Strade Bianche
7 - Amstel Gold Race
8 - Clásica de San Sebastián
9 - La Fléche Wallone
10 - Paris-Tours

(GW and Harelbeke should be somewhere in the middle there, but I'll leave it to the experts - I just feel that RvV overshadows them a lot)

...

∞ - Scheldeprijs :D
 
Re:

Velolover2 said:
But El Pistolero has a good point.

E3 is always a fun race but just a lesser version of De Ronde with many of the same climbs. It's a warm-up race. The reason why I didn't included it.

Gent-Wevelgem is an unique race which characterised by the wind, the passage to De Moeren, and of course the Kemmelberg. It's also older and longer and serves as a memorial for the soldiers of WWI.

And the fact that Paris-Tours isn't on the World Tour is a disgrace. They also removed the climbs in the final making it a Kittel race. It's a disgrace.
I agree with all points. The reason why I prefer GW over the other cobbled classics (except RVV and PR of course) is because it often feels like it's the only one with its own character. Omloop, KBK, DDV and E3 all use climbs which are also part of the Ronde, which gives them the typical charakter of a preparation race. For example when I see the Kwaremont in E3 my first association with the climb is that it's the crucial point of the Ronde. GW however has it's own famous climbs, it has its own characteristics, it's often affected by wind and compared to the Ronde a bunch sprint is way more likely which gives riders a chance to win who probably won't be the favorites one week later. For the same reason I rate the "smaller" Ardennes races higher than E3, Omloop and DDV. They probably aren't as exciting but at least these races are unique. The AGR is about very short, but often brutally steep ramps and FW is the unofficial uphill sprint world championship, while LBL still is a hilly race but with longer climbs than in AGR. Therefore there usually isn't one favorite for all three races.
 
I like watching Strade more than Liege.
I have been watching for almost 30 years... I rode Strade parcours before it was a race. The moment they announced it as a race I knew it would be awesome. It is awesome. Intant classic.

GW had improved a lot recently. They increased distance and difficulty (years ago, distance was much higher, but in the 90s they decreased it).
With GW some days before De Panne, De Panne lost its role of preparation race a bit. A pity. It would be probably better to organize De Panne in the week of Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem.