Spring Classics 2023

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Composite image from the spring classics

The Spring Classics 2023 (Image credit: Getty Images Sports)

The Spring Classics are the heart and soul of the early months of the pro cycling season. While the Grand Tours represent the long-form version of cycling, unfolding over more than three weeks, the major one-day races are where the more immediate, high-impact drama unfolds.

There are major one-day races dotted throughout the calendar but the spring represents the main period where the action is condensed, with all-out no-tomorrow racing unfolding across Belgium, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.

The term 'Spring Classics' is open to interpretation. In fact, both words are. Different people draw different lines in the sand as to where the spring officially begins and as to which races merit the title of 'Classic'. 

The importance of certain events and the structure of the calendar has fluctuated in recent years, but we're taking an all-encompassing view and running from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in last February through to Liège-Bastogne-Liège in late April. 

We've included some of what are sometimes described as semi-classics, but also four of the five so-called Monuments of cycling: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. These are cycling's biggest and most historic one-day races and the only one that doesn't take place in the spring is the late-season Il Lombardia. 

The Classics season begins with the so-called 'Opening Weekend' in Belgium, comprising Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - men's and women's races - on the Saturday and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on the Sunday. Strade Bianche, a modern Classic, on Italian gravel, then follows in Italy, before a stage racing break in the form of the concurrent Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. 

On the other side is the main spring period, where there's no let-up. The men's Milan-San Remo and the women's Trofeo Alfredo Binda continue the Italian flavour before things move over to Belgium and onto the cobbles. E3 Classic signals the start of Flemish Holy Week, moving through Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen and then, finally, the mighty Tour of Flanders - or Ronde Van Vlaanderen. 

The cobbles usually continue via Scheldeprijs and then over to border to Paris-Roubaix, the famous French cobblestone race also known as 'The Hell of the North'. Due to regional elections, it has been moved back a week this year, creating a messy link between the cobbles and the 'Ardennes' Classics. 

Not to be confused with the Flemish Ardennes, where Tour of Flanders and the rest play out, these races take place in the Wallonia region of French-speaking southern Belgium and are much more hilly affairs. Amstel Gold Race is technically its own entity over the border in the Netherlands but is often packaged in with La Flèche Wallonne and Liège - the oldest of the Classics - to form the Ardennes treble. 

2022 Spring Classics roundup

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Spring Classics 2023

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Spring Classics dates for 2023
February 25Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women 1.ProLotte Kopecky
February 25Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Men1.UWT Dylan van Baarle
February 26 Omloop van het Hageland 1.1Lorena Wiebes
February 26Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne1.Pro Tiesj Benoot
February 28Le Samyn Women1.1 Marta Bastianelli
February 28Le Samyn Men1.1 Milan Menten
March 4Strade Bianche Women 1.WWTDemi Vollering
March 4Strade Bianche Men 1.UWTTom Pidcock
March 11Ronde van Drenthe 1.WWTLorena Wiebes
March 15Nokere Koerse Women 1.ProLotte Kopecky (SD Worx)
March 15Nokere Koerse Men 1.ProTim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep)
March 15Milano - Torino 1.ProArvid De Kleijn (Tudor Pro Cycling)
March 16Grand Prix de Denain - Porte du Hainaut 1.ProJuan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates)
March 18Milan-San Remo 1.UWTMathieu van der Poel
March 19Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio 1.WWTShirin van Anrooij
March 22Classic Brugge-De Panne Men 1.UWTRow 15 - Cell 3
March 23Classic Brugge-De Panne Women 1.WWTRow 16 - Cell 3
March 24E3 Saxo Bank Classic 1.UWTRow 17 - Cell 3
March 26Gent-Wevelgem Men1.UWTRow 18 - Cell 3
March 26Gent-Wevelgem Women 1.WWTRow 19 - Cell 3
March 29Dwars door Vlaanderen Women 1.ProRow 20 - Cell 3
March 29Dwars door Vlaanderen Men1.UWT Row 21 - Cell 3
April 2Tour of Flanders Women 1.WWTRow 22 - Cell 3
April 2Tour of Flanders Men1.UWT Row 23 - Cell 3
April 5Scheldeprijs Women 1.1Row 24 - Cell 3
April 5Scheldeprijs Men 1.ProRow 25 - Cell 3
April 8Paris-Roubaix Women 1.WWTRow 26 - Cell 3
April 9Paris-Roubaix Men 1.UWTRow 27 - Cell 3
April 12De Brabantse Pijl Women 1.ProRow 28 - Cell 3
April 12De Brabantse Pijl Men 1.ProRow 29 - Cell 3
April 16Amstel Gold Race Women 1.WWTRow 30 - Cell 3
April 16Amstel Gold Race Men 1.UWTRow 31 - Cell 3
April 19La Flèche Wallonne Women 1..WWTRow 32 - Cell 3
April 19La Flèche Wallonne Men1.UWT Row 33 - Cell 3
April 23Liège-Bastogne-Liège Men 1.UWTRow 34 - Cell 3
April 23Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes Women 1.WWTRow 35 - Cell 3

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Netherlands Dylan Van Baarle wins the 2023 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Dylan van Baarle wins the 2023 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dylan van Baarle took his first victory with Jumbo-Visma with a massive solo move in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first of two victories for his team in Opening Weekend.

Lotte Kopecky celebrates her win in the 2023 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Lotte Kopecky celebrates her win in the 2023 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Getty Images)

In the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) rode solo to victory. She made up for last year's mistake on the Muur van Geraardsbergen by attacking on the famous climb, riding past the lone breakaway rider and holding on for the win.


Tiesj Benoot, winner of the 2023 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with the traditional donkey prize

Tiesj Benoot, winner of the 2023 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne  (Image credit: Nico VereeckenPNSprintCyclingAgency2023)

Jumbo-Visma made it two for two on Opening Weekend, this time with another solo attack. Tiesj Benoot won the 2023 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne after jumping away from the winning breakaway with 800 metres to go

Omloop van het Hageland

After coming second to her teammate in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Lorena Wiebes won the 2023 Omloop van het Hageland, making it an SD Worx double on Opening Weekend.

Le Samyn

Taking place on the Tuesday after the Opening Weekend, Le Samyn is a rough ride over flatter and rougher cobblestones held in Dour, near Belgium's border with France. Both men's and women's Le Samyn are smaller than most other races in the spring, and often come down to small group sprints.

Little known rider Marcel Menten (Lotto Dstny) to take the men's Le Samyn over Hugo Hofstetter and Edward Theuns, while Marta Bastianelli repeated as winner in the women's race.

Strade Bianche

Tom Pidcock charges to victory in Strade Bianche 2023

Tom Pidcock charges to victory in Strade Bianche 2023 (Image credit: Getty images)

Having only been created in 2007, Strade Bianche pales in comparison to the history of other one-day events in the spring but has quickly established itself as one of the biggest and most iconic races on the entire calendar.

The race translates from Italian to 'white roads', taking its name from the gravel tracks that twist, rise, and fall through the rolling Tuscan countryside. The men's race was created as a spin-off from the Eroica events in 2007, while a women's Strade Bianche was added in 2015. Both races tackle the gravel before finishing in Siena's striking Piazza del Campo.

Tom Pidcock (Ineos) attacked to bridge across to the breakaway with 45km to go and then used his offroad descending skills to burn the others off his wheel. A chase group could never get it together to bring him back, and Valentin Madouas beat Tiesj Benoot to second place.

Teammates Lotte Kopecky and Demi Vollering sprint for the win in Strade Bianche

Teammates Lotte Kopecky and Demi Vollering sprint for the win in Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

In the women's race, SD Worx teammates Lotte Kopecky and Demi Vollering were the strongest and full-on sprinted against each other for the win. Vollering was awarded the victory in the 2023 Strade Bianche in a photo finish. 

Ronde van Drenthe

Lorena Wiebes proved to be the queen of the Ronde van Drenthe, winning her third edition in a row in a bunch sprint. One of the biggest races on the Women's WorldTour series. Taking place in the Netherlands, it includes cobbled sections but the most decisive aspect of the route is the VAM Berg, a climb built over a former waste dump. Snow forced organisers to shorten the race by almost 60km.

There is also a race for men, ranked 1.1, won by Jumbo-Visma devo rider Per Strand Hagenes.

Nokere Koerse

Another race that would fall under the moniker 'semi-classic' for many, Nokere Koerse is based on the Nokereberg climb hasn't traditionally been one for the big names. 

That said, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) ran riot in the women's 2023 edition, attacking repeatedly before winning solo for an emotional victory just a few days after the death of her brother, Seppe. 

The men's race saw a bigger group come to the finish, with local hero Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) taking his second straight title


Milano-Torino was a new addition to the spring calendar in 2022. It used to take place during the main swing of late-season Italian Classics in the autumn but now leads up to Milan-San Remo, so the organisers created a flatter course. 

In 2023, the race had a slightly surprising winner in Arvid De Kleign (Tudor Pro Cycling), who prevailed in the bunch sprint. 

GP de Denain

Another small race that's a semi-classic at most, the GP de Denain nevertheless offers an early glimmer of Paris-Roubaix. Once a sprinter's race, the organisers have introduced more and more of the flat cobblestone sectors found in northern France in a bid to develop the race. 

The 2023 edition was as dramatic as ever, with Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) winning from a small break that formed 30km from the finish

Milan-San Remo

The first Monument of the season, Milan-San Remo is a venerable race that dates back to 1907. Also known as La Classicissima (the big classic) and La Primavera (the spring), it is the most important day in Italian cycling. 

There is no women's version of Milan-San Remo.

Mathieu van der Poel attacked over the top of the Poggio and soloed in to victory in the 2023 Milan-San Remo. A chasing group led home by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Filippo Ganna (Ineos) could not close the gap in the strong tailwind.

Trofeo Alfredo Binda

The long-running Trofeo Alfredo Binda is named after the first road World Champion Alfredo Binda. First held as a regional competition in 1974, it is the seventh round of the Women’s WorldTour. The race takes place in northern Italy, with loops around Cittiglio. It is a hilly affair that suits the strongest riders and is settled on an uphill drag to the line in Cittiglio. There is no men's race.

Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) slowly inched out a winning margin in the 2023 Trofeo Alfredo Binda after attacking with 25 kilometres to go, taking her first WorldTour win. 

Classic Brugge-De Panne

The Classic Brugge-De Panne, formerly known as the Three Days of De Panne, shrunk to a one-day race that now sits between Milan-San Remo/Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Gent-Wevelgem. The Women's Classic Brugge-De Panne was added in 2018. Both start in Bruges before heading into the windswept swamp plains of De Moeren, before heading for the finish in De Panne. If the race hasn't been broken apart in the wind, it's a likely bunch sprint.

E3 SaxoBank Classic

The E3 Saxo Bank Classic, often described as a mini Tour of Flanders, borrows much of the same parcours as De Ronde, heading into the Flemish Ardennes for a helping of cobbles and climbs that you can't match anywhere else. The race takes its name from an old motorway that is now called the E17, and it used to be known as E3-Harelbeke, which is the town where it starts and finishes. There is no women's race.


Gent-Wevelgem is another historic Flandrien Classic but has its own flavour. Instead of repeating the runs through the main Flemish Ardennes region, it heads north, up through windswept De Moeren and over to the North Sea coast. It then heads down along the French border to take in some climbs in the very west of Flanders, the iconic and decisive one being the Kemmelberg.

The men's race was first held in 1934 while the women's Gent-Wevelgem was created in 2012 and now acts as the fifth event on the WorldTour calendar.

Dwars door Vlaanderen

Dwars door Vlaanderen used to be held in the De Panne slot but now occupies the pre-Flanders Wednesday. Still, it doesn't always attract a full host of big names, with some cautious about over-exerting themselves four days before the biggest day of all. The men's race was first held in 1945 while the Women's Dwars door Vlaanderen was established in 2012.

Tour of Flanders

The Tour of Flanders - or Ronde Van Vlaanderen - is one of the most special days on the cycling calendar. Created in 1913, with the women's Tour of Flanders introduced in 2004, the courses have changed over the years but the current iteration places the Oude Kwaremont and super-steep Paterberg as the grand finale ahead of the 13km run-in.


The Scheldeprijs is a one-day Classic with cobbles but isn't considered a true cobbled Classic. It was often referred to as a 'world championship for sprinters' and indeed bunch gallops have been a consistent outcome. The race takes its name from the Schelde river up near Antwerp in the east of Flanders, and there can be a threat of wind before the races heads to Schoten for laps of a finishing circuit.

The men's race was created in 1907 while a women's Scheldeprijs was introduced in 2021.


Also known as The Hell of the North, Paris-Roubaix is one of the most brutal and gripping races in cycling. It's the only Spring Classic in France, but it's utterly iconic, heading over the old cobblestone tracks that made their way through war-torn northern France. The men's race was first held back in 1896, while a women's Paris-Roubaix was only introduced in 2021.

De Brabantse Pijl

Usually acting as a bridge between the cobbled and Ardennes Classics, De Babantse Pijl has names in both Flemish and French (La Flèche Brabançonne) and takes place near the border with the two regions. First held in 1961 and the women's Brabantse Pijl since 2016, both races feature cobbled climbs that wouldn't look out of place in the Flemish Ardennes, but also longer climbs and paved roads like the S-bend in Overijse.

Amstel Gold Race

Amstel Gold Race, dating back to 1966, is considered one of the three main Ardennes Classics, even if it takes place in Limburg in the lower corner of the Netherlands. Named after a beer, it's a snaking and undulating ride through the hills of Limburg, with climbs like the Cauberg forming a puncheur's delight.

A women's Amstel Gold Race was added in 2001 and both take place on the same day and start and finish near Valkenburg. Whereas the routes used to come down to a charge up and over the Cauberg, the organisers have opened things up and made the Bemelerberg the final act with just over 7km to go.

La Flèche Wallonne

La Flèche Wallonne is midweek special and all about the Mur de Huy. There are other climbs, but they're almost not worth mentioning, as the race always comes down to a mass charge up the super-steep final climb in Huy. The men's race was first held in 1936 and the women's La Flèche Wallonne in 1998.


The oldest of the Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is an institution in Belgian cycling and beyond. It's known as La Doyenne (the old lady) and was first held in 1892, with 106 men's editions under its belt. The women's Liège-Bastogne-Liège was set up by Tour de France organisers ASO in 2017. 

The races start and finishes in Liège, heading south to Bastogne before returning back. The finish is in the centre of Liège, although the routes were modified a few years ago after the old finish in Ans was considered too predictable. We've had some solo winners since but the past couple on both sides have come down to sprints from small star-studded groups.


  • Spring Classics 2023
    25 February 2023 | Various | WorldTour

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