The cobbled classics are the most prestigious one day events in the world of road cycling.
Outshining the Tour de France to most cycling fans, the classics manage to jam pack everything that is great about cycling into one brutal day. A very, very long day, the cobbled classics range in distance from 200 to 260 kilometers. While flatter than the Ardennes there can still be a lot of climbing. The Tour of Flanders clocks in at over 2500 meters (8,500 feet +) of climbing. All that split up over 18 or so cobbled climbs that max out over 20% grade.
Held through March and April, the four cobbled classics consist of E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, De Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Paris-Roubaix.
By F Lamiot - F Lamiot (Own work), CC BY 2.5, Link
Dwars door Vlaanderen
First Edition: 1945
Most wins per country: Belgium, 54.
First Edition: 1958
Nickname: The little Tour of Flanders
Most Wins: Belgian Tom Boonen holds the record of victories with five wins, trailed by cycling icon Rik Van Looy who won four times.
Fastest Edition: 2003 when Dutchman Steven de Jongh won at an average speed of 45.9 km/h.
First Edition: 1934
Most Wins: Gent-Wevelgem was won three times by Robert Van Eenaeme (1936, 1937 and 1945), Rik Van Looy (1956, 1957 and 1962), Eddy Merckx (1967, 1970 and 1973) and Tom Boonen (2004, 2011 and 2012). Mario Cipollini was victorious in 1992, 1993 and 2002.
Tour of Flanders
First Edition: 1913
Most Victories: Six men hold the record of most victories, making the Tour of Flanders unique among the major classics. Belgians Achiel Buysse, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw and Tom Boonen, Italian Fiorenzo Magni and Swiss Fabian Cancellara each have three victories.
Closest margin of victory: In 1994 Bugno beat Museeuw by 7 mm in a four-man sprint, the smallest margin in history.
Prizes: For more than half a century, organizers have offered prizes and bonuses to the first riders on many of the climbs. In 1940 the first rider up the Kwaremont, Edelare and Kruisberg won 500 francs. A combined prize for best climber on all the hills came in 1950, when Maurits Blomme won bedroom furniture. The prize at the top of the Kruisberg in 1953 was a washing machine; the first up the Muur of Geraardsbergen won 18,000 francs. In 1950 Fiorenzo Magni won 30,000 francs in bonuses during a long breakaway.
Steepest Climb: The Koppenberg maxes out at 22%
Longest Edition: The longest Tour of Flanders was its first running in 1913: 324 kilometers
Shortest Edition: The shortest Tour of Flanders was the war-time edition of 1941: 198 kilometers
Fastest Edition: 2001, won by Italian Gianluca Bortolami: 43.6 km/h average.
Slowest Edition: 1923, won by Swiss Heiri Suter: 26,2 km/h average.
Most Races Completed By a Rider: Briek Schotte, who participated 20 consecutive times from 1940 to 1959.
Most Consecutive Victories: Only one rider (Fiorenzo Magni) won three consecutive victories.
Biggest Margin of Victory: The biggest margin between the winner and runner-up was in 1969, when Eddy Merckx won by a margin of 5 minutes 36 seconds over second-place finisher Felice Gimondi.
Youngest Winner: Rik Van Steenbergen in 1944 at 19 years and 206 days.
Oldest Winner: Andrei Tchmil in 2000 at 37 years and 71 days.
First Edition: 1896
Most races completed by a rider: 16, by Raymond Impanis (1947-1963) and Servais Knaven (1995-2010). – 15, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle.
Oldest winner: Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, 38 years and 8 months in 1993.
Largest winning margin (postwar): 5 minutes and 21 seconds, when Eddy Merckx beat Roger De Vlaeminck in 1970.
Closest margin of victory: 1 cm (0.39 in), between Eddy Planckaert and Steve Bauer in 1990.
Slowest victory: 12 hours and 15 minutes, in 1919 when Henri Pélissier won on roads devastated by World War I.
Fastest Edition: Peter Post averaged 45.1 kph to win in 1964.
Longest victorious break: 222 km (138 mi), by Dirk Demol in 1988.
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