I don’t hide that fact that I think the spring classics are the best bike racing the season has to offer. Sure, in terms of complexity, drama and sheer scale they can’t match the sweeping scope of the Grand Tours, but then again, how many people do you find who hold up Moby Dick as a model of excellence in prose styling? While the Tour may mark the season’s traditional high point, the best racing you’ll see all year comes over the next few months.
Outside the all-or-nothing attacks of fresh legs on storied, unpredictable courses that (usually) encourage and reward aggression, the classics are also critical because they set the backstory over which the remainder of the season plays out. McEwen’s headbutt as Boonen sprinted to a win at the ’05 Tour (not to mention the ensuing ad) was built on the angst of Quick.Step’s dominant spring campaign.