Events 2022: The five monuments of cycling for amateur cyclists

Flandern Jedermann-Rennen
© Stefan Rachow

Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Milan-Sanremo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Tour of Lombardy. The five monuments of cycling can also be ridden by hobby athletes in special amateur races and events. Please find below an overview Alpecin Cycling created for the 2022 season:


Date: 5 June 2022
Start-finish: Milan-Sanremo/Italy
Distance: approx. 300 km

The “Primavera” amateur event celebrates its 52nd anniversary in 2022. Long staying power will also be required from amateur athletes tackling the approximately 300-kilometre long ride from the capital of Lombardy across the Piedmont plain and the Turchino Pass down to the Ligurian coast. On the final 50 kilometres an array of climbs, including illustrious names such as Capo Berta, Poggio and, of course, the Cipressa shortly before the end of the race, awaits the riders and will soak any energy left out of the athletes’ legs.

What sounds like a picturesque setting starts quite dull, however. While the professionals start in front of Milan’s cathedral, amateur athletes set off on their long journey in a suburb just outside Milan – Pieve Emanuele. But the event date at the beginning of June at least makes sure there won’t be neither snow nor cold.

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Tour of Flanders

Date: 2 April 2022
Start-finish: Oudenaarde-Oudenaarde/Belgium, Oudenaarde-Antwerp/all Belgium (217 km)
Distances: 72 km, 136 km, 177 km, 217 km.

This amateur race is a must if you want to experience first-hand what it feels like for the pros to ride the “Ronde van Vlaanderen” with its Kasseien, the rough cobblestone sections, and the Hellinge, i.e., short, tough climbs. But it is worth the suffering, because also at the amateur race a huge crowd of spectators will be cheering on amateur athletes at the famous and race-deciding climbs Oude Kwaremont, Koppenberg and Paterberg – only one day before the pro riders are cheered on at their “Ronde”.

Depending on your fitness level, you can choose from four different distances: 72, 136, 177 and 217 kilometres. No matter which one you tackle, it is worth the effort, because also at the amateur race a huge crowd of spectators will be cheering on amateur athletes at the famous and race-deciding climbs Oude Kwaremont, Koppenberg and Paterberg.

The famous Muur van Geraardsbergen – which is definitely worth riding – is, however, only part of the 177- and the 217-kilometre course. Despite all the spectacle at the roadside, the finish in Oudenaarde is quite unspectacular. Only one day after amateur athletes completed their race, pros will go on the course for the “Ronde”.

The longest distance is the only one that starts in Antwerp, there will be a shuttle bus for participants from Oudenaarde to the Belgian port city early in the morning on race day.

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Paris-Roubaix Challenge

Date: 16 April 2022
Start/Finish: Roubaix-Roubaix/France, Busigny-Roubaix/France (172 km)
Distances: 70 km, 145 km, 172 km

Amateur athletes who are willing to suffer and tolerate some pain, are given the chance to ride the “Hell of the North”. One day before the pro race and only a few hours before the women’s race, hobby cyclists will be given the opportunity to ride over 54 kilometres of hardest cobblestone and 19 sectors at the 12th edition of this amateur event.

© Stefan Rachow

Those who want to minimise the vibrations on the pave sections with illustrious names like Forest of Arenberg or Carrefour de l’Abre are recommended to either ride on the right or left side of the road or in the middle of the lane – on the raise. The reward for the suffering will be a lap of honour in the famous velodrome in Roubaix at the end.

Riders who take part in the long course, which is the only one that starts in Busigny, need to hurry a little, however, to reach the velodrome by 4 p.m. at the latest, as the winner of the professional women’s race will arrive shortly afterwards.

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Paris-Roubaix Cyclo

Date: 5 June 2022
Start/Finish: Roubaix-Roubaix (70 km), Wallers Arenberg-Roubaix (120 km), Bohain En Vermandois-Roubaix (210 km)/all France
Distances: 70 km, 120 km, 210 km

Participants of Paris-Roubaix Cyclo get big fun for rather little money. On top of that temperatures are usually quite pleasant when about two months after the pros’ Hell of the North the local cycling club VC Roubaix organises their own edition. There are three distances to choose from with 11, 34 or 58-kilometre long pavé sections. All three will finish in the Roubaix velodrome where participants can take a shower in the legendary catacombs; a bonus that participants in the official “Challenge” do not get to enjoy, by the way.

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Date: 23 April 2022
Start-finish: Ans-Liège/Belgium
Distances: 66 km/1292 vertical metres (vm), 142 km/2666 vm, 257 km/4498 vm

If you want to ride the amateur version of the oldest cycling classic, you don’t need to register months in advance. Up until race morning, late entries for one of the three course options are offered. The ultimate challenge is to ride the same course as the pros at “La Doyenne”, i.e., 257 kilometres and a good dozen so-called Côtes – the majestic name of the short, tough climbs in the Belgian Ardennes.

Among them are illustrious names like Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons and, of course, Côte de La Redoute. But also the other routes (66 km and 142 km) offer plenty of opportunities to experience the fascination and toughness of the “roller coaster of the Ardennes” with its legendary climbs.

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Grand Fondo Il Lombardia

Date: October 2022
Start-finish: Cantù/Italy
Distance: 109 kilometres/1700 vm

“Madonna del Ghisallo” and “Muro di Surmano” are names that make eyes of cycling entusiasts light up and leave only one option which race this could be about – the Tour of Lombardy. It is a pilgrimage on wheels – for professionals and amateur athletes alike. The race of the “falling leaves” is not only the last of the five cycling monuments, but also an extremely attractive event featuring an enthusiastic crowd with lots of cycling experience that is cheering on the pros; a very scenic setting, a course past Lake Como, up to the Madonna chapel, Colle Nero and the Muro di Sormano.

© LaPresse/RCS

The professional race will take place for the 115th time on 8 October 2022. Much younger, first held in 2017, but just as impressive, is the amateur version of the Tour of Lombardy. One day after the professionals, amateur athletes tackle the course at the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia and pay their respects to the cycling pilgrimage site.

Although the course passes by the lovely Lake Como several times, the detours up to Madonna del Ghisallo and Muro di Sormano make even well-trained amateur athletes feel why this race is one of the monuments of cycling. Steep ramps with gradients of up to 27 percent are not uncommon.

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