The 2012 season is well underway with the international peloton having already contested races on six Continents. Whilst the likes of the Tour of Oman and the Tour de Langkawi act as leg looseners for the top riders and important stepping stones in the UCIs globalisation of cycling, it’s the traditional Spring classics that get our juices flowing at La Fuga. The top riders converge from all corners of the globe to contest these races that underpin the heritage and history of cycling. The top one day riders such as Cavendish, Gilbert, Cancellara, Boonen and Hushovd will all be eyeing the pinnacles of the one-day sport which take place in a few short weeks in March and April. It all kicks off with Milan – San Remo Il Classicissima or the Classic of the Classics if you non parli Italiano. From there we head north to the Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race and Liege – Bastogne - Liege. Each race plays to the strengths of a slightly different type of rider. San Remo is one for the sprinters. Flanders and Roubaix are for the hard, strong men of the peloton and Liege and Amstel favour the lighter weight riders who might also fancy their chances come July.
The races run so far this season provide a valuable form guide for predicting who will add their name to the prestigious rolls of honour. Cavendish is already off the mark this year, with an impressive sprint win at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne demonstrating that Team Sky have picked up where HTC left off in the lead out train stakes. Tom Boonen is perhaps the surprise rider in form this year after being somewhere from his best for the last couple of years. Having taken his 100th career victory recently, could Tom be the one to give Fabian Cancellara a run for this money in Flanders and Roubaix this year? Cancellara has already demonstrated sparkling form this year with a dominating win at the Strada Biance event held over the gravel roads of Tuscany. A Boonen – Cancellara tete-a-tete is a mouthwatering prospect.
The form book for the Ardennes Classics of Liege and Amstel is a lot more open. Philippe Gilbert dominated in these races last year and proved almost impossible to beat. His start to this season has been a bit more mixed, leaving the way open for other challengers. Alejandro Valverde is back from a drugs ban after being implicated in Operation Puerto and back to his previous top form. Many of the Ardennes Classics challengers are building their form at traditional season openers Paris – Nice and Tirreno – Adriatico which both come to a conclusion this weekend, and the form book will be more defined once these races have been run.
La Fuga will be at the Classics again this year. We’ll be returning for the fourth year to the Tour of Flanders, a fantastic weekend trip that allows you to ride the route of the event on the Saturday, enjoy some local beverages in beautiful Ghent on Saturday night and then watch the pros do battle on Sunday. If you fancy taking on the Hell of the North then the Paris Roubaix Challenge gives you a chance to tackle the infamous cobbles before finishing in the famous Roubaix Velodrome. And if watching Paris – Nice or Tirreno – Adriatico over the weekend whets your appetite to explore these great cycling regions in more detail, you may be interested to know that we’ve run various custom trips over the very same roads.
Find out more about our Tour of Flander trip here
Find out more about our Paris Roubaix Challenge trip here