With all current racing suspended due to the COVID 19 outbreak, cycling fans everywhere have found themselves at a loose end. The idea of no spring classics this year was unthinkable in January, however it offers a chance to revisit some of the bike racing we've been spoilt with in past years. As sponsors of the spring classics on Eurosport, we decided to delve into the archives and bring you 5 incredible cycling races to rewatch in your home.
Paris - Nice 2020
The biggest race of 2020 so far. Paris - Nice was dominated by the off-bike action surrounding the coronavirus, with some riders still quarantined at the UAE tour and riders that would have been targeting Strada Bianche making the jump across to France to compete in the week-long stage race.
Nonetheless, the cycling action was phenomenal. Stage 2 provided everything and more than you would expect of a great monument, with crosswinds, narrow roads and huge attacks. With 50-kilometres to go, the rain was coming down hard and the peloton was pushing into the wind. World champion Mads Pedersen spend a large amount of time drilling it on the front whilst Peter Sagan looked in top shape.
The bunch was continuously splintering as they entered the final in Chalette-Sur-Loing, which was eventually contested by a very select lead group. Giacomo Nizzolo went to take an absolutely huge win, that was largely unexpected. This one was an absolute classic.
Strada Bianche 2019
Wout van Aert clawing his way back up to established World Tour hitters Julien Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang is a memory that will long live in the minds of many cycling fans. The cyclocross star was on astounding form that day, however it wouldn't stop a rampant Alaphilippe who took the win that day.
The chalk roads of Northern Italy provide the most stunning backdrop to a race, with the town of Siena being the ultimate amphitheatre to finish such an iconic race. Alaphilippe and Fuglsang pressing on in the final kilometre whilst van Aert crumbled to the floor was an astonishing scene. This race exposes weaknesses and crowns champions.
Amstel Gold 2019
No one could have predicted what would happen that day, especially at 6.6-kilometres to go when Van der Poel was a minute down on the leaders. It looked to be another repeat of Strada Bianche, with Alaphilippe and Fuglsang psyching each other out, off of the front of the race.
Yet only a few kilometres later, Van der Poel was hauling a train of riders back into contention, first pulling in Matteo Trentin and finally Michael Kwiatkowski. The sprint was intense with riders strewn across the road. Somehow Van der Poel emerged the victor in what is the craziest finishes of a monument in recent history. And the commentators losing it makes it all the better!
Yorkshire World Championships 2019
Annemiek van Vleuten produced a display of sheer dominance to take the 2019 world title. Van Vleuten attacked from a staggering 105-kilometres out to ride to the win in Harrogate. It was a ride that confirmed her status as the best in the world and is worth the re-watch just for the sunny Yorkshire countryside!
The men's race was contested in diabolical conditions, with many riders pulling up early due to the weather. It was also a surprising victory for young rider Mads Pedersen who took the win from Matteo Trentin.
Giro d'Italia 2018
The 2018 Giro was an extraordinary race, with Simon Yates looking to be in great shape to take his first grand tour victory. Leading Chris Froome by 3 minutes and 18 seconds, Yates had ridden an excellent first 18 stages and was in touching distance of Rome and victory.
Froome was having a tougher Giro, carrying an injured knee, saddle sores and uncertain form, which was placing him 4th in the general classifications. People were looking at Dumoulin to take charge, with Froome being largely underestimated.
Though Froome never counted himself out, riding 80 kilometres solo on stage 19 to regain the pink jersey. It was one of the most astonishing rides in recent grand tours. The stage included 4 massive climbs, including the infamous Colle delle Finestre, which climbs to a gargantuan 2,178 meters. The gravel hairpins towards the summit would provide the perfect setting for Froome's best ride of his career.
After reaching the summit, Froome descended like a demon off of the Finestre to ride into the race lead. This race was absolutely epic!