Cycling is an intense sport not meant for the faint of heart. Racers compete over thousands of miles, across different terrains, and ride over obstacles to have the lowest times. Whether you’re participating in these events or are simply spectating, it’s important to know the top cycling races in the world. These expand over entire countries and regions for riders to win the respective colored jerseys and trophies. It’s important for those who are participating in these events to stay equipped with the best biking gear to perform their best, such as high-quality shoes or a leather bike saddle. These are essential for riders to last the brutal conditions and thousands of miles with the best comfort and stability.
Tour de France (France)
The Tour de France is arguably the most well-known bicycle race ever. It is a multiple-stage race held in France and its surrounding countries during July. Known as one of the Grand Tours in cycling, this 2,200-mile race started in 1903 and consists of four distinct classifications: general, mountains, points, and young rider classification. The general classification is the most sought after. It is a timed trial where the person with the lowest time wins. The winner wears a notable yellow jersey. The mountains classification is the second oldest in the race. It was added in 1933 and awards points on the largest number of climbing points based on the steepness and length of the hill. The race became better known for its infamous doping cases, specifically with former racer Lance Armstrong, who won the race in 1993 and 1995.
Giro d’Italia (Italy)
Also known as the Tour of Italy or the “Giro,” this is an annual multiple-stage bicycle race in Italy and its surrounding countries. From May to June, this 2,224-mile race passes through the Alps and Dolomites. It has the same classifications as the Tour de France. However, unlike the Tour de France, the winner of the general classification in the Giro wears a pink jersey instead of a yellow one. Not to mention, there are about 21 stages as well as two or three rest days.
This is a one-day men’s road race in northern France. It starts in April in Paris and ends in Roubaix near the Belgium border. This race, which began in 1896, is historically known as one of the oldest cycling races. The Paris-Roubaix race is also known for its difficult terrain and cobblestone trails.
Race Across America (USA)
The Race Across America (RAAM) is an ultra-distance race that started in 1982. It’s one of the longest endurance events in the world, and competitors must complete the course in the shortest amount of time to win. The race goes from the west coast to east coast, approximately 3,000 miles. Racers are expected to race continuously, which limits sleep and bathroom breaks.
La Ruta de los Conquistadores (Costa Rica)
This race is known as the first multi-stage mountain race of its kind. Like the RAAM, the race goes from coast to coast, and riders have three days to cross Costa Rica. It began in 1992 and consists of 250 miles of terrain plus 8,000 meters of elevation and climate changes. La Ruta promotes environmental consciousness in Costa Rica’s flora, and follows the paths of conquistadors Juan de Cavallón, Perafán de Ribera, and Juan Vázquez de Coronado during their 1653-1660 expeditions.