Top Ride: The culmination of my visit to Holy Week was the long anticipated, much feared, and never completed ride across the parcours of Paris-Roubaix. Finally I learned what it was like to battle the toughest roads in northern France and earn my own lap of honour at the Roubaix velodrome.
Ed Roadside in Belgium: You know when the season proper has started when your inbox is full of photos of cobbles and cold bike riders from Belgium with the name Ed Hood on the email. First up was the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, but the Classic weekend started on Friday night in Gent for Ed and his gang.
The Classics have moved back up north to Belgium this week for the Dwars Door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke and the big one on Sunday: Gent-Wevelgem. Ed Hood takes a trip back to his visits to the Belgian WorldTour race and looks forward to the 2016 cobbled Classic with history, course and top tips for the win.
Seeing, riding, and experiencing the Spring Classics is something every true fan counts on his bucket list. Peter Thomson, owner of Thomson Bike Tours, knows how it's done, and shares some insider tips on how to make the most of this trip to Belgium.
Our man Mark was introduced to the cobbles of Flanders last week by Velo Classic Tours, riding the roads of Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs and De Ronde. To finish him off he tackled the Hell of the North and those murderous tracks to Roubaix, but he still had time for rider watching at the sign-on in Compiégne.
As part of his continued Spring Classics trip with Velo Classic Tours our man Mark McGhee has been out riding the Belgian cobbles that included the Gent-Wevelgem parcours and its famous bergs whilst being followed around by pro photographers on motorbikes, been up close to the pros at the Scheldepris race and hung out in VIP comfort in between. Life's tough as Paris Roubaix approaches!
The Tour of Flanders is a legendary event. The steep nasty bergs, the cobbles, the weather, the passion of the fans - it's classics racing at its best. Every year before the pros put on their big show, thousands of amateurs get their chance to strut their stuff on these mythical roads and in 2012 the Pez himself was lined up amongst them to experience it all himself. Here's his story from that magical day.