What are the monuments in cycling, how many Colombians have won them and why is Milan-San Remo the first to run?

The cycling season in the world is underway and after the Paris-Nice and the Tirreno Adriatico, competitions in stages, the first monument is coming: the Milan-San Remo.

These classics are of the utmost importance within the world of cranks and at a competitive level they are one of the most desired races by cyclists, since there are five in total and They have a great historical weight in world cycling, which gives a plus to those who manage to cross the finish line first.

Why are they called monuments?

They are so called the five longest-running and most prestigious classic races on the calendar. Their history is so old that they were created before the First World War and each one of them has something that characterizes them and differentiates them from the others.

Wout van Aert took Milan-San Remo in 2020. – Photo: AFP

The first to appear in the pedalists’ almanac is the Milan-San Remo, which runs on Italian territory; it is followed by the tour of Flanders, which takes place in Belgium; then Paris-Roubaix appears, which takes place on French soil; in their order, it follows the Liège-Bastoña-Liège, also in Belgium, and finally the Giro de Lombardía, in Italy.

These monuments are held throughout the year, but with the particularity that the first four classics are held during the European spring, while the last race is held in the fall.

One of the characteristics of these races It is that its route is greater than 200 kilometers and presents several mountain passes along the way, which makes them suitable races for cyclists of any profile, such as climbers or packers.

How are the five cycling monuments different?

  • Milan-San Remo: It is the longest race with routes that are almost always around 300 kilometers. They call it the Classicissima or the Spring and during the journey there are different peaks and mountain passes that make the competition very close; however, it is usually a stage that is usually won by sprinters.
  • tour of flanders: it has a route that is characterized by offering short ascents, but with a great unevenness on cobblestone terrain; The passes are characterized by Koppenberg, the Kapelmuur and the Paterberg, which due to the terrain make this race one of the most demanding. It is the youngest monument of all and has a distance of 250 kilometers.
  • Paris-Roubaix: In the cycling field it is known as the Hell of the North or the Classic of the Classics and it is the only monument that runs on French soil. It has almost 30 steps on pavé or cobblestones that accumulate 50 kilometers of travel on this terrain, to which is added that it is almost always accompanied by bad weather, which makes it one of the toughest monuments for runners.
  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège: The cyclists call it “La Decana”, since it is the oldest of the five monuments. Its route is 260 kilometers and has several points of more than 10% inclination in the last 100 kilometers.
  • Lombardy twist: it is known as the Classic of dead leaves and offers a route between 240 or 250 kilometers; Of these five monuments, it is the one that has presented the most variations in its layout. Of these races, it is the one that offers the most appropriate profile for climbers, since it has important and extensive mountain ascents such as the Madonna del Ghisallo pass. This race has a special meaning for Colombia, because in 2016 Esteban Chaves from Bogota prevailed in a final sprint in which he beat the Italian Diego Rosa and Rigoberto Urán, which led him to be the only non-European to win this classic and the only Colombian to win one of the five monuments.
Esteban Chaves was crowned in Bucaramanga as the new national road champion.
Esteban Chaves is the only Colombian winner of one of cycling’s monuments. – Photo: @EFprocycling
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Milan-San Remo, when is it run?

The world of cycling continues to warm up its engines ahead of what will be the three greats of the year (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España), competitions for which the great figures of the sport of connecting rods have begun their preparation. The most recent in this field has to do with the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Paris-Nice, stage competitions that took place last week and that left the Slovenians Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar as champions, respectively.

Tadej Pogacar conquers the general and the last stage of the Paris-Nice.
Tadej Pogačar conquered the Paris-Nice and is expected to participate in the Milan-San Remo that will take place on March 18. – Photo: Twitter MazaCycling

Now, cycling fans will be able to connect with the emotions of Milan-San Remo, the first of the five monuments of the season to go into action. The competition, which is characterized for being one of the most demanding on the calendar and for offering a route of more than 200 kilometers, will be held on March 18.

This year, the route will be 294 kilometers long and will include demanding steps through Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta, the ascent to Ciprres and the Poggio di San Remo before ending on Via Roma in San Remo, where the winner will be determined. of this classic

The best cyclists on the planet are expected to attend the Italian event, such as Tadej Pogacar, Wout van Aert, Mathieu Van der Poel, Arnaud De Lie, Mads Pedersen, Jasper Philipsen, Arnaud Démare, Mark Cavendish, Magnus Cort Nielsen and Julián Alaphilippe; For now, it is not known which Colombians will be part of the competition.

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