Cycle Classics organises a unique set of cycle events inspired by the most exciting and iconic one-day Classics on the professional road racing calendar: Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, and the Strade Bianche. Like their professional counterparts, the Cycle Classics events are all defined by unusual road surfaces: the gravel and cobbled sectors of the epic Tour of the Black Country, which pay homage to Paris-Roubaix; the short, steep Flanders-like cobbled climbs of the Cheshire Cobbled Classic; and the white gravel and chalk roads of the White Roads Classic, which mimic the Italian strade bianche (literally ‘white roads’). Each of these surfaces provides its own characteristic riding experience, but common to all of these types of surface are the enhanced sensations of speed, and the excitement that riding on rough unpaved roads provides. In addition, riding on these old, battered unpaved roads provides a direct connection to cycling’s past, and to the heritage and traditions of this beautiful sport. The Roubaix-inspired Tour of the Black Country finishes on a large outdoor velodrome, as does Paris-Roubaix itself, which has made the Roubaix velodrome one of the most iconic venues in all of cycling. Building on the sell-out success of the Tour of the Black Country, the new ‘Roubaix Series’ follows the same format of unpaved roads/velodrome, making use of the best outdoor velodromes in the UK, at Cardiff, Reading and Liverpool. The Cycle Classics Series captures the epic quality of Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and the Strade Bianche, and gives you a real sense of what riding them is like.
The Tour of the Black Country sportive was rated in 2016 as one of the top 6 cycling events in the UK, together with the Fred Whitton, Ride London and the Tour de Yorkshire.
In 2017, the Tour of the Black Country, Cheshire Cobbled Classic and White Roads Classic, will offer 100-mile route options for the first time, alongside the original 100 km distances. The 100-mile routes, in combination with the difficulty of the surfaces, will make these events among the very toughest in the UK. Even the shorter 100 km distances still pose a significant challenge. Although these events are inspired by classic European cycle races, they also have a recognizable British identity, rooted in the local landscapes and culture.