There were some incredible, sometimes crazy, bike races back in the day. There were your insanely long distance, body crushing single stage races to more contemporary race formats that were just held in really cool spots.
Why aren't these still around today? Come on UCI, get it together.
1. Bol d'Or (1895 - 1950)
The Bol d'Or was a 24 hour velodrome endurance race, which was once part of the 1900 Summer Olympics. We have seen the rise of The Hour Record this year, why not just multiple it by 24?
2. Bordeaux - Paris (1891 - 1988)
A 560km race from Bordeaux to Paris, an ultra-endurance race. The racers started at 2am in Bordeaux and often took around 26 hours to complete. It would be awesome to see professionals do this type of race again!
3. Classique de Alpes (1991 - 2004)
A single stage of racing usually only found during a stage of the Tour de France. It took place in Chartreuse Mountains, beginning in Chambéry and finishing in Aix-les-Bains. Race organizers ended it because apparently teams weren't supportive of it.
4. Coors Classic (1980 - 1988)
Seven stages of hard racing in several areas of the USA, it was kind of like a Tour de America. You probably now know it from the movie American Flyers, America needs a proper tour like this again. Tour of California is cool, but it's not enough. I think having a bigger bike race could definitely help the image of American cycling post Lance.
5. Escalada a Montjuic (1965 - 2007)
Two stages, one day. It combined a criterium of Barcelona (5 x 5km laps) followed up with a 10km time trial. From one of the speediest forms of bike racing to another, this race would be incredibly exciting to watch again.
6. Paris – Brest – Paris [pre-Audax version] (1891 - 1931)
One of the longest, coming in at an incredible 1200km, the race was from Paris to Brest and back again to Paris. This race was only held once ever ten years and the racers had to be self-sufficient. The PBP of 1901 was so popular that it inspired the creation of the Tour de France.
In 1911 a peloton strategy was developed, leaving behind the solo approach. In 1931 the race was split into two, one with cyclists trying to make it within 90 hours but no competition, and the other was where cyclist ride in a group. The last time it was raced by professionals was in 1951 where the record was set at 38 hours and 55 minutes.
We should bring back this epic long solo race, and see if the pros can challenge that 38 hour mark.
1. San Francisco Grand Prix (2001 - 2005)
This was a top-level UCI single stage event. It took place on the crazy steep roads in San Francisco, and getting the chance to watch the pros struggle up steep urban hills was definitely a thrill!