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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
Jul 16, 2010
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Re:

BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.

Indeed, I can't take votes for Strade Bianche seriously. And tbh, I find G-W a more entertaining race than Strade Bianche, at least since 2013. Gent-Wevelgem was one of the most entertaining races this year imo.
 
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BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.

The word prestige just means high reputation, so I don't know what history has to do with it? If a lot of people agree that something has a high reputation then it is prestigious. No matter how old a race is. The term "Monument" was also coined, because most people agreed that those are the races with the highest reputation. Not because they are old ...
 
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BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.

I don't know about that. All the riders love the Strade Bianche and each year you hear nothing but enthusiastic comments about the race from the riders. You often hear them saying that it's the race they enjoy the most even though they were nowhere near the pointy end of the race. So it's definitely not just naive, young fans with no respect for the past century who adore the race and it is one of the bigger targets for a lot of riders and thus very prestigious.

But belonging to this group of younger fans, I could revert things and ask those people who always get sour when changes happen, why they feel that way. For example, why do some people insist on calling Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the Het Volk? It's a sponsor who changed names, for Chist's sake, the name change is not a personal attack upon traditionalists of the sport.

And even though Strade Bianche in itself is a new race, it really is a throwback to the old days, where races were raced on gravel roads before everything was asphalted.

But the real problem is, what is a "classic"? Nobody seems able to provide an agreed-upon definition of the word and since everybody can just conjure up their own random criteria ("it must be more than 50 years old (which means that Amstel can now be called a classic, whereas it couldn't two years ago)", "it must be 250 kilometres or more (which should actually exclude Il Lombardia)", "it must take place in a weekend") to justify what they end up answering, it really is not that simple a discussion.

To me, the most important parameter is how big a target it is for the riders, because in the end that really is what determines the prestige of a race. Another important parameter in my eyes is that the race should have a certain uniqueness (you could chastise me for conjuring up a criterion for the sole purpose of supporting my answer, just like I did above), and this is why the cobbled classics bar Flanders and Roubaix are not in contention from my point of view - they are great races but clearly inferior to the climax that is reached in early April.

Or you could just count Google hits, of course.
 
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Akuryo said:
BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.

The word prestige just means high reputation, so I don't know what history has to do with it? If a lot of people agree that something has a high reputation then it is prestigious. No matter how old a race is. The term "Monument" was also coined, because most people agreed that those are the races with the highest reputation. Not because they are old ...

However, they are all fairly old, with RvV being the youngest, first raced in 1913.
 
Re: Re:

Akuryo said:
BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.

The word prestige just means high reputation, so I don't know what history has to do with it? If a lot of people agree that something has a high reputation then it is prestigious. No matter how old a race is. The term "Monument" was also coined, because most people agreed that those are the races with the highest reputation. Not because they are old ...

Their age had a big part to play in it
 
Re:

BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.
You might say it's dumbed down, but entertainment value is the be-all and end-all of cycling races. It's what draws spectators and thus it's where the sponsors want to get noticed, which in turn increases the prestige over time.

Strade Bianche hasn't been around long enough to capture the attention of cycling fans, but I pretty much guarantee that it will gather a lot of steam very quickly as more people notice it. I agree wholeheartedly that it can't be defined as a classic yet simply because of the definition of the word, but it's already a better race than most of the monuments.

There's not much room for sentimentality in cycling. People aren't going to watch a boring race every year just because of its history. Lombardia has become a shadow of what it was and AGR, FW and LBL are on their way towards the same fate if they continue down the path they're on. Even the Tour, which is without question the most popular race in the world, has rightfully been getting loads of criticism in the last couple of decades for becoming too boring and predictable, although the blame for that is on the tactics and dominance of USPS and Sky more than the organizers.
 
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Brullnux said:
Akuryo said:
BigMac said:
Prestige has more to do with history and age than anything else.

Sadly, it's all dumbed-down to ''which of those races do I find most entertaining''.

The word prestige just means high reputation, so I don't know what history has to do with it? If a lot of people agree that something has a high reputation then it is prestigious. No matter how old a race is. The term "Monument" was also coined, because most people agreed that those are the races with the highest reputation. Not because they are old ...

Their age had a big part to play in it

Yes, but that has still nothing to do with the meaning of the word prestige. The question at the beginning of the thread was which classic has the most prestige after those 5. And if the most viewers and riders agree that (for example) Strade is of higher esteem than FW or GW, age does not matter. The word prestige in itself has nothing to do with history. It is just how highly people rate something. For a lot of people history is what gives a race high value but not for everyone.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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tobydawq said:
...
But belonging to this group of younger fans, I could revert things and ask those people who always get sour when changes happen, why they feel that way. For example, why do some people insist on calling Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the Het Volk? It's a sponsor who changed names, for Chist's sake, the name change is not a personal attack upon traditionalists of the sport. (1)

And even though Strade Bianche in itself is a new race, it really is a throwback to the old days, where races were raced on gravel roads before everything was asphalted. 2

But the real problem is, what is a "classic"? Nobody seems able to provide an agreed-upon definition of the word and since everybody can just conjure up their own random criteria ("it must be more than 50 years old (which means that Amstel can now be called a classic, whereas it couldn't two years ago)", "it must be 250 kilometres or more (which should actually exclude Il Lombardia)", "it must take place in a weekend") to justify what they end up answering, it really is not that simple a discussion. 3

To me, the most important parameter is how big a target it is for the riders, because in the end that really is what determines the prestige of a race. 4.

(1)
Not every "traditionalist" is resisting changes. Whilst I am happy that todays cyclists (at least on WT-level) do not have to worry about paying their bills at the end of the month (unlike the lesser known riders some 40+ years ago), I would however not be too happy if cycling would become flooded with money (like say football on top level). Some of the thrill would definitely be gone. Name changes are ok, but I do not have to jump on them. I would definitely continue to call a race "Hyundai Monument formerly known as Paris - Roubaix" simply "Paris - Roubaix" and the add of a sponsor's name could actually deteriorate the value of the race to me.

(2)
What you are describing is basically a synthetic "old" race. The cobbled classics run on cobbles because those were the roads riden on 100 years ago, when it all started. To the defense of Strade Bianche it has to be said, that the parcours is at least using roads which have been there. But imagine e.g. a new "Dubai Classic" where they make a track with cobbles (imported from Europe), some sandy parts and artificial "hellinge" and some other gimmicks - could be a fantastic track and with some insane money-pouring they might even attract the best riders of the world - but would that be a "classic" or just a huge pay-out for the riders racing it?

(3)
In that term a "classic" must have some history and every race which is called a "classic" today has loads of it. "History" doesn't mean it just has to be run over a very long period of time (in that sense Scheldeprijs perhaps would indeed be the greatest race in the world on par with Paris-Roubaix), but there must be stories about the race which made legend. Whilst I agree Strade Bianche is on a good way, at least in my memory it can't compare in legend-building stories to some of the older races in Belgium.

(4)
That will be influenced by two factors: the "prestige" of the race in itself and the money one earns by entering/winning the race (the "prestige" will also pay-out as a winner of say 3 monuments will have more sponsor money than a winner of some races in Langkawi or Algavre). See also point (2) above
 
Apr 12, 2009
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Hard one, I need some more time to think :)

For me it's between former World Cup Races Amstel and Paris-Tours, and on the other hand Gent Wevelgem and the Flèche...
The latter 3 have the most history. Gent-Wevelgem is probably the most entertaining one of those: can be a mass sprint, can be ecehelons, can be a breakaway (btw, they don't need 'plug streets') ... but I also kind of like that the Flèche became the unofficial World Championship for steep hill finishers..

Strade Bianche is a super cool race, but needs another 30 years to be considered for monument status.
 
I see your points but it may be taking things a bit far. Of course, name changes of the biggest races that has had the same name forever would be controversial but this is not really the case here. Het Volk was the name of the newspaper sponsoring the race - Het Volk changed its name to Het Nieuwsblad (or merged with it or something) so the race changed its name. But it was already called by the name of a newspaper (just like Dauphiné Libéré) so I can't see the problem in that case.

Also thinking up scenarios involving hypothetical Middle Eastern races and synthetic courses for the sole purpose of unravelling my points is taking things to their extremes. Should things really go that way, I will understand the criticism but it is definitely not the case with Strade Bianche.

And I know that the word "classic" has in it an inherent understanding of something old so I understand the arguments supporting the viewpoint that Strade Bianche cannot be called a classic. But then I may just miss the point of the importance of the whole call-something-a-classic-debacle because for my money, what should be discussed is really the prestige of the different one-day races and then I would have no qualms with putting Strade Bianche up as number 6 (if we exclude the Olympics and World Championships road races).

And no, Strade Bianche is not just prestigious because of huge sums to the winners but because of its unique style of racing. And yes, prestige driven solely by possible financial gains would not be desirable.
 
Strade is a truly great race, but it's a bit of a prep race like Omloop is. It'd have to be on the other side of P-N and T-A, a longer route, and a bit more time to get the same status as Amstel and Gent-Wevelgem, I think.

In fact, I'd prefer if it was an autumn race. The post-WC block of races doesn't have the same gravity as it used to have.
 
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tobydawq said:
Also thinking up scenarios involving hypothetical Middle Eastern races and synthetic courses

well we had a World's in Doha last year .... finally the race wasn't all that bad° (as expectation were levelled down to ground zero), but having one spectator for two riders somewhat doesn't make for an adequate atmosphere

Besides, I don't think we are far apart. It's just that in "your book" Strade Bianche has reached level "X", whereas in "my book" it will perhaps be there in a decade ....


° might be a bit of a bias here, as I was pleased with the result ;)
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Netserk said:
Strade is a truly great race, but it's a bit of a prep race like Omloop is. It'd have to be on the other side of P-N and T-A, a longer route, and a bit more time to get the same status as Amstel and Gent-Wevelgem, I think.

In fact, I'd prefer if it was an autumn race. The post-WC block of races doesn't have the same gravity as it used to have.

Yeah this is a good point. I think people are overestimating the prestige of Strade-Bianchi because of how fun the race is and the big names it attracts. But people don't peak for it, it's not a big season target. Omloop is a great race and lots of big names for cobbled races show up in it, but it's nowhere near as prestigious as Amstel or Gent-Wevelgem. Strade Bianchi for me is a race that I love and I look forward to it every year and it definitely has potential to grow, but as long as the big names show up as part of their build up to the season just because its fun, rather than target it properly as a big season goal, it really isn't much more prestigious than something like Omloop. A few more years and a different place on the calendar could change that very rapidly though.
 
Re: Re:

loge1884 said:
tobydawq said:
Also thinking up scenarios involving hypothetical Middle Eastern races and synthetic courses

well we had a World's in Doha last year .... finally the race wasn't all that bad° (as expectation were levelled down to ground zero), but having one spectator for two riders somewhat doesn't make for an adequate atmosphere

Besides, I don't think we are far apart. It's just that in "your book" Strade Bianche has reached level "X", whereas in "my book" it will perhaps be there in a decade ....


° might be a bit of a bias here, as I was pleased with the result ;)

I actually didn't mind the (elite mens') World Championships last year that much. I think the whole desert/cross wind drama was fantastic. I always like echelon racing but with something as huge as the rainbow jersey on the line the drama was augmented massively in that race and the fact that Sagan single-handedly closed a 40 meter gap in full crosswind action mode is a fact that many people have missed and which adds further to his legend in my opinion and I really don't understand when people say that this jersey has no value. Of course it has - whether a victory has value does not have much to do with how entertained a spectator feels during the given race.

Of course the final 100 kilometres inside Doha were downright terrible and for it to have been a truly great race they would have had to be different. But the worlds are allowed to vary so that different riders can aim at them and it is only right that we will finally have a mountainous course again next year.

But of course it wouldn't do to move a lot of races to a corner of the world where no one gives a damn about them. But nobody is arguing that the Dubai Tour or Abu Dhabi Tour are in the top tier of stage races so this discussion may well be moot.

Regarding moving Strade Bianche to the autumn: It may be a good idea - especially since it suits so many different riders, which the world championships usually also do. It would be a fine revenge match for the Worlds, I think. Which is funny, because that was when it was initially held but to gain prestige it had to be moved to the spring. Now, to gain further prestige, we are arguing moving it back again.
 
Re:

Netserk said:
Strade is a truly great race, but it's a bit of a prep race like Omloop is. It'd have to be on the other side of P-N and T-A, a longer route, and a bit more time to get the same status as Amstel and Gent-Wevelgem, I think.

In fact, I'd prefer if it was an autumn race. The post-WC block of races doesn't have the same gravity as it used to have.

I dunno. People are always more tired at the end of the season, form is less certain. I think it would harm the race.
 
Easily Flèche Wallone followed by G-W. Such an iconic finish even if the early racing isn't exciting. No other race is quite like it and everyone remembers who won FW, while the GW winner gets lost with all the other cobbled classic winners.

The question was most prestigious and of course everyone is voting for their favorite which is not the same thing.

TMP402 said:
"Classic" is a disputed term and "monument" a relatively recent invention. So it's a state of mind. And to me, I already consider Strade the sixth - or rather, first - "monument".
Have to agree with these statements. There is no real definition of a classic or a semi-classic.
 
Re:

jaylew said:
Easily Flèche Wallone followed by G-W. Such an iconic finish even if the early racing isn't exciting. No other race is quite like it and everyone remembers who won FW, while the GW winner gets lost with all the other cobbled classic winners.

The question was most prestigious and of course everyone is voting for their favorite which is not the same thing.

TMP402 said:
"Classic" is a disputed term and "monument" a relatively recent invention. So it's a state of mind. And to me, I already consider Strade the sixth - or rather, first - "monument".
Have to agree with these statements. There is no real definition of a classic or a semi-classic.

"prestigious" - reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other favorable attributes.

Yes an older race has more time to perhaps gain prestige. But...Strade just might be the 6th most prestigious race. It has a great route, great roads, great riders, great winners, great past editions with exciting racing.

Maybe it isn't just be voted on because it's people's favorite. Perhaps we think of it as the next in line of prestige.
 
Re:

There's a persistent confusion on this thread between what people think should be prestigious and what is actually prestigious. Prestige isn't as an assessment of how much fun a race is, or how unusual. It's about how the peloton understands it's importance and behaves towards the race. As such there are only three contenders on this list: FW, AGR, GW. None of the rest belong in the discussion at all, even though Strade is arguably the best race.

For exactly the same reason Lombardia is the least prestigious monument, even though it's usually a better race than MSR or LBL.
 
Re: Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
There's a persistent confusion on this thread between what people think should be prestigious and what is actually prestigious. Prestige isn't as an assessment of how much fun a race is, or how unusual. It's about how the peloton understands it's importance and behaves towards the race. As such there are only three contenders on this list: FW, AGR, GW. None of the rest belong in the discussion at all, even though Strade is arguably the best race.

For exactly the same reason Lombardia is the least prestigious monument, even though it's usually a better race than MSR or LBL.
That is true. And because we don't have any inside measure of the peloton's understanding, it is up to us fans to make assessments about the prestige of a race. What can we base those assessments on when we do not know the mentality or intentions of the riders? Personally, I think the race's characteristics and the level of competition are two highly important indicators of prestige. How unique is the race in terms of terrain, profile and calendar position? You could argue that history and age are also important indicators. But they are not the only ones, as some people on this forum seems to argue. Strade Bianche lacks history, but it is one of the most unique races on the calendar, like Tro-Bro Léon, and unlike Tro-Bro it sports a super strong lineout of various rider types.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re: Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
There's a persistent confusion on this thread between what people think should be prestigious and what is actually prestigious. Prestige isn't as an assessment of how much fun a race is, or how unusual. It's about how the peloton understands it's importance and behaves towards the race. As such there are only three contenders on this list: FW, AGR, GW. None of the rest belong in the discussion at all, even though Strade is arguably the best race.

For exactly the same reason Lombardia is the least prestigious monument, even though it's usually a better race than MSR or LBL.

Nah, Milan-San Remo easily has the worst winners of all the Monuments.

Ciolek, Goss, Cavendish, Demare, etc.
 

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