Tour of Flanders
Giro di Lombardia
If you love cycling, you love these races. Dripping with history, these five Monuments of Cycling are the oldest and most coveted one day races on the cycling calendar. It’s too much to discuss in anything but the broadest strokes. There is simply too much here, too much history and depth. Races like Liege have been ridden for over 100 years!
A bit of Magic, and more than a little Mischief lives within each of these races. To win, you need to be an exceptional rider: cagey, intelligent and unrelenting. These are races for gamblers. These are for the mind-readers that can see the moves before they happen, following just the right wheel at just the right time.
Each of the Monuments present their own set of challenges. And each race caters to a slightly different type of rider. San Remo for sprinters. Lombardia for climbers. Roubaix for the big engines and technically savy. In fact, in the long history of these races only three riders have won all five. You may have heard of them:
Roger De Vlaeminck
Rik Van Looy
And will such a thing ever happen again? In this micromanaged peloton where racing is second to marketing, not many riders will even get the opportunity. Sponsors want camera time during the spectacle of the grand tours. With Lombardia dangling at the end of the season, very few have the ability or want to race a spring classics campaign, three grand tours, and then stay on form for Lombardia. For better or worse, it’s simply not the way cycling teams are now managed.
With technological advances, nutritionists, cutting edge coaching and management, today's racers are rather like F1 cars. When everything comes together, they’re a masterpiece of speed. But that level of perfection requires constant upkeep. The tolerances are so precise that if even the smallest thing is out of alignment the change in quality is drastic. It’s endemic of all sports. The overall quality of the athletes is so much better that the extra 1% is what everyone is fighting for.
The old Vanguard was a bit rougher around the edges. Those that could win could always win. They raced everything as men. Not as machines.
Our Monuments Bottle celebrates Merckx "The Cannibal", Van Looy "The Emperor" and De Vlaeminck "The Gypsy". It pays tribute to their extraordinary achievement and honors their status as cycling royalty.
They are all Belgians.
They are all World Champions.
They are all Kings of the sport.