Spring Classics are here
We can finally say with some conviction that spring is, if not here already, then definitely on its way. If all else fails, for cyclists, the beginning of the classics season is a good sign that spring is coming. The first weekend of cobbles usually falls at the end of February and this weekend sees two classics: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (OHN) and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (KBK).
Although the beginning of this week saw unusually high temperatures and deceptively pleasant weather at times, the weekend now looks like a return to seasonal form – with good old Storm Barbara bringing us some very strong winds and rain. A horror story for some, but many classics riders welcome bad weather as one of the necessary evils of these iconic early-season races.
Lining up at the start of both races are world champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), three-time KBK winner Tom Boonen (Quickstep Floors) and his new teammate Philippe Gilbert, who has taken the win at OHN on two occasions. Though they may be considered warm-up events for the Monuments later in the spring, a win is a win and all riders will be hoping to show off good form in these early season events. OHN is typically won from a breakaway – typically of select riders – and that could very well play to Gilbert and Sagan’s strengths. KBK on the other hand has always historically come down to a bunch Gallop, and that means it could be a possible win for Boonen. Of course, what we love most about the classics is the chaos – so trying to predict who’ll win is really a waste of time. Just sit back an enjoy the madness.
These riders on teams sponsored by Specialized will boast the use of the new, groundbreaking Roubaix with its innovative Future Shock Technology in the headset. The improved comfort and control provided by this smart piece of exclusive Specialized tech optimises the Roubaix for rides like those of the classics, where terrain is notoriously cobble-strewn and races are incredibly long, often lasting over 250km.
The Roubaix is not just for the pros, though. The same tech that makes it great on the cobbles of Belgium, the Netherlands and France means it’s also well-suited to endurance riding of all kinds – you'll them on the start lines of many a British sportive in the coming months. All models are equipped with high-end wheels and disc brakes for unparalleled stopping distance.
Check out a few models here:
Along with the bike you’re also going to need some suitable kit to make the most of riding in the notoriously conditions that come with early spring. A decent, lightweight waterproof jacket is absolutely essential, but so too are gloves, arm warmers and bib knicks, all of which give you that balance of protection and versatility that is so vital at this time of year.
Element RBX Pro Jacket
Whether you head out this weekend to replicate the heroics of Sagan, Boonen and Gilbert on your own rough-and-ready training routes, or simply take the opportunity to watch the biggest races of the year so far from the comfort of your couch – we call all agree that it’s great to have spring and the classics back in our lives.
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