During the classics season I’ll be doing some pieces for I’m a regular reader of their site and did something similar last summer for the Tour de France. My first piece this year is about the classics and they way their format changes to suit the times.

We might think of classics as ancient races and the history is important and crucial. But the best classics are equally modern too. Scrap the Kapelmuur for the Tour of Flanders? Find new sections of pavé for Paris-Roubaix? Move the start and finish around? In some ways all these things are normal for the classics, these races have survived from the newspaper era into the age of TV and I suspect they’ll find better ways to incorporate the internet and social media soon too.

You can read the full piece at:

5 thoughts on “ blog”

  1. I read it yesterday, and I’d say it’s every bit as good as could be expected. Not that I wholly agree with the ideas (already outlined in this blog over the past week), but the sheer quality of the text makes it a really valuable contribution to cyclingnews. I’m sure they will be very happy to have you write there more regularly, and I also hope you will find the time to keep your own blog as busy as usual. Congratulations.

  2. On the subject of Paris-Roubaix not starting in Paris. Would it be acceptable to fans and sponsors if it didn’t finish in Roubaix? The last few kilometres are relatively uncobbled, and perhaps they could search out more cobbles if they ended elsewhere. Or finish just after the Carrefour de l’Arbre (is that the right name?) for example.

    Essentially, if the essence of the race is the cobbles, not the velodrome of Roubaix, how adaptable can race organisers afford or dare to be?

  3. @Rooto: No. Just no.
    Yes, the essence is the cobbles, but the vélodrome is the epitome of the finish for a cycling race. If a rider wins solo, those one-and-a-half laps are the greatest experience he could have – some line painted on the road somewhere just isn’t the same.
    And to me, much of the charm of Paris-Roubaix lies in it not being the typical race: The important part of the race starts not with 20 km to go (as in many mountain stages or classics), not with 40-60 km to go (as in Flanders), but with 100 km to go at Arenberg. From there to the finish it’s one huge race of attrition, and only the strongest survive.

  4. They’re building a new indooor velodrome in Roubaix… but the old one will remain in part so the finish of the race can happen once a year, a case of preserving history for the sake of the sport rather than adapting the sport.

  5. It’s true that I was halfway through my comment when I remembered there was a velodrome involved – and that does count for something, even in the 21st century.
    However, I’m still not against changing destinations of races if it’s considered there is a good sporting reason for doing so. Examples? Er, I’ll get back to you!

    Am I right that for every Paris-Roubaix, or M-SR with a fixed finish, there’s a Giro della Lombardia without?

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