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At ASSOS, we’re huge fans of bike racing, which means that springtime is all about the Classics. For us, and much of the cycling world, they come in two rounds: first up is the fabled Cobbles, followed by the leg-burning Ardennes. From mid-February at Omloop through to Paris Roubaix, cobbles are king in the lowlands of Flanders, Holland, and France. Then, we shift down a gear, a spot of freewheeling until the punchy climbs of Amstel Gold right through to Liege-Bastogne-Liege; the peloton’s flirtation with the hills of South-East Belgium and Southern Holland.
Right now, at this pivotal junction in the cycling calendar, when the strong riders of the flatter races give way to those with a certain talent that goes against gravity, here is a look back at some of the best imagery that has been captured since the start of the 2018 season.
Up Next, the Ardennes:
Amstel Gold Race 15/4/18
More twists than a cheap novel and a lot less predictable, this is a race that has a route that looks like the scribblings of a three-year-old kid on a map. Narrow roads, steep climbs, and equally as steep descents make this one to watch. Its finish is just over a race-deciding hill into Valkenberg. Suggestion: Watch the Dutch coverage for the best commentary, and grab a beer that sponsors the race, too.
La Fleche Wallonne + La Fleche Wallonne Feminine 18/4/18
Much more than just a way to turn the legs over between Amstel and LBL, this is the French-speaking part of Belgium’s mid-week Classic. Featuring fewer hills than Amstel and LBL it might be easy to overlook, but with a finish on the mighty Mur du Huy, where those who go too early will pay the price, this is certainly not to be missed. Suggestion: If you’re tight for time, tune in for the final hour—this is where the magic will happen.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege + Liege-Bastogne-Liege Femmes 22/4/19
La Doyenne, the Oldest: The screaming crescendo of the Ardennes campaign, this has unrelenting hills, unrelenting roads, and probably unrelenting weather—this is where we’ll see who has the legs for the upcoming Grand Tours. The succession of climbs at the back end of the race really sort the wheat from the chaff. Suggestion: Book off your Sunday and tune in for both the male and female versions; they’re going to be great.
Images by Chris Auld - @cauldphoto