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The Cobbled classics are four cycling classics held in March and April. Cobblestones, like mountainous terrain, are important elements in courses of cycling. Many classic cycle races in northwestern Europe contain cobbled sections. The two Monuments of this race type are the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix, with over 20 cobbled sectors.

HistoryEdit

The first race with cobbled sections is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which traditionally opens the Belgian classics season, followed the next day by Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne. Starting late March, the Flemish Cycling Week (Vlaamse Wielerweek) kicks off the most important period for cobbled cycling classics. Currently it features the Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, the E3 Harelbeke on Friday, and Gent–Wevelgem on Sunday. During the following week, the stage-race Driedaagse van De Panne keeps the riders busy, concluding with the Monument Tour of Flanders on Sunday. The Scheldeprijs on the following Wednesday prepares the riders for the historical Paris–Roubaix (another Monument), which ends the cobbled classics.

Among the cobbled cycling races, the three most historical are usually held on consecutive Sundays in March and April: Gent–Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix. Gent–Wevelgem has lost a lot of its historical status due to the relative easiness of the route. The E3 Harelbeke is considered to be harder and thus better preparation for the Ronde and Roubaix. In 2012, both races received equal status on the UCI World Tour. In 2017, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (the opening event of the Belgian cycling season, as well as the first race of the year in Northwestern Europe) and Dwars door Vlaanderen became World Tour races.

In 2012 Belgian rider Tom Boonen managed to win all four races in the same season, as the first and only rider to do so.

Winners since 1990Edit

Year   E3 Harelbeke (BEL)   Gent–Wevelgem (BEL)   Tour of Flanders (BEL)   Paris–Roubaix (FRA)
1990   Søren Lilholt (DEN)   Herman Frison (BEL)   Moreno Argentin (ITA)   Eddy Planckaert (BEL)
1991   Olaf Ludwig (GER)   Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (UZB)   Edwig van Hooydonck (BEL)   Marc Madiot (FRA)
1992   Johan Museeuw (BEL)   Mario Cipollini (ITA)   Jacky Durand (FRA)   Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (FRA)
1993   Mario Cipollini (ITA)   Mario Cipollini (ITA)   Johan Museeuw (BEL)   Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (FRA)
1994   Andrei Tchmil (BEL)   Wilfried Peeters (BEL)   Gianni Bugno (ITA)   Andrei Tchmil (BEL)
1995   Bart Leysen (BEL)   Lars Michaelsen (DEN)   Johan Museeuw (BEL)   Franco Ballerini (ITA)
1996   Carlo Bomans (BEL)   Tom Steels (BEL)   Michele Bartoli (ITA)   Johan Museeuw (BEL)
1997   Hendrik Van Dijck (BEL)   Philippe Gaumont (FRA)   Rolf Sørensen (DEN)   Frédéric Guesdon (FRA)
1998   Johan Museeuw (BEL)   Frank Vandenbroucke (BEL)   Johan Museeuw (BEL)   Franco Ballerini (ITA)
1999   Peter Van Petegem (BEL)   Tom Steels (BEL)   Peter Van Petegem (BEL)   Andrea Tafi (ITA)
2000   Sergei Ivanov (RUS)   Geert Van Bondt (BEL)   Andrei Tchmil (BEL)   Johan Museeuw (BEL)
2001   Andrei Tchmil (BEL)   George Hincapie (USA)   Gianluca Bortolami (ITA)   Servais Knaven (NED)
2002   Dario Pieri (ITA)   Mario Cipollini (ITA)   Andrea Tafi (ITA)   Johan Museeuw (BEL)
2003   Steven de Jongh (NED)   Andreas Klier (GER)   Peter Van Petegem (BEL)   Peter Van Petegem (BEL)
2004   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Steffen Wesemann (GER)   Magnus Bäckstedt (SWE)
2005   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Nico Mattan (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)
2006   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Thor Hushovd (NOR)   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2007   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Marcus Burghardt (GER)   Alessandro Ballan (ITA)   Stuart O'Grady (AUS)
2008   Kurt Asle Arvesen (NOR)   Óscar Freire (ESP)   Stijn Devolder (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)
2009   Filippo Pozzato (ITA)   Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR)   Stijn Devolder (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)
2010   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)   Bernhard Eisel (AUT)   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2011   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Nick Nuyens (BEL)   Johan Vansummeren (BEL)
2012   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)   Tom Boonen (BEL)
2013   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)   Peter Sagan (SVK)   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2014   Peter Sagan (SVK)   John Degenkolb (GER)   Fabian Cancellara (SUI)   Niki Terpstra (NED)
2015   Geraint Thomas (GBR)   Luca Paolini (ITA)   Alexander Kristoff (NOR)   John Degenkolb (GER)
2016   Michał Kwiatkowski (POL)   Peter Sagan (SVK)   Peter Sagan (SVK)   Mathew Hayman (AUS)
2017   Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)   Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)   Philippe Gilbert (BEL)   Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
2018   Niki Terpstra (NED)   Peter Sagan (SVK)   Niki Terpstra (NED)   Peter Sagan (SVK)
2019   Zdeněk Štybar (CZE)   Alexander Kristoff (NOR)   Alberto Bettiol (ITA)   Philippe Gilbert (BEL)

StatisticsEdit

Most cobbled classics wins per male riderEdit

Rank Name Total wins E3 Harelbeke Gent–Wevelgem Tour of Flanders Paris–Roubaix
1 Tom Boonen 15 5 (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012) 3 (2004, 2011, 2012) 3 (2005, 2006, 2012) 4 (2005, 2008, 2009, 2012)
2 Rik Van Looy 12 4 (1964, 1965, 1966, 1969) 3 (1956, 1957, 1962) 2 (1959, 1962) 3 (1961, 1962, 1965)
3 Fabian Cancellara 9 3 (2010, 2011, 2013) 0 3 (2010, 2013, 2014) 3 (2006, 2010, 2013)
4 Eddy Merckx 8 0 3 (1967, 1970, 1973) 2 (1969, 1975) 3 (1968, 1970, 1973)
Johan Museeuw 8 2 (1992, 1998) 0 3 (1993, 1995, 1998) 3 (1996, 2000, 2002)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit