7 defunct bike races (that should be brought back)

Bring back these fabulous – and bonkers – bike races! If only we were in charge of the UCI.

From stupidly long distance body-wrecking single stage affairs through to contemporary race formats held in amazing locations, all of these events should be happening this year

But they aren’t. Yet the Tour Of Qatar is. Go figure.

Bol d’Or

When was it?

1895 – 1950

What was it?

A 24 hour velodrome endurance race. It was a paced race with tandems doing the pacing at first – motor dernys didn’t appear until the early 20th century. The Bol d’Or was even part of the 1900 Summer Olympics (alongside other events such as croquet and tug of war.

Why do we want it back?

Let’s take this year’s current in vogue event – The Hour Record – and times it by 24! Quite frankly, all these velodromers don’t really appear to be anywhere near knackered enough these days.

Bordeaux – Paris

When was it?

1891 – 1988

What was it?

A 560km race from Bordeaux to Paris. Starting at 2am in Bordeaux. The inventors of the race envisaged the winner would take a few days but Brit icon George Pilkington Mills won the first one in 26 hrs 36 mins! He ate raw meat and consumed “a specially prepared stimulant”. We bet he did.

Why do we want it back?

We need to bring back the lone, ultra-endurance nutcases into professional road cycling. Events like this still happen in the amateur world but how great would it be to see Contador and Nibali gnawing on raw meat and snorting energy powder?

Classique des Alpes

When was it?

1991 – 2004

What was it?

A single stage of racing in the terrain usually only familiar during the heart of the Tour De France.

Why do we want it back?

Because the only reason it doesn’t exist is the organisers bizarre insistence on it happening in early June. Bung it at the end of the season you spoons!

Coors Classic

When was it?

1980 – 1988

What was it?

Kind of a Tour De America. Seven stages of properly hard bicycle racing covering several areas of the USA (well, the west half of it anyway). Known for its mental merchandising on one hand but also for its pioneering (and sadly one-off) proper attempt to big-up women’s bike racing. It’s the race that’s featured/referenced in the film ‘American Flyers’.

Why do we want it back?

America needs a proper Tour. The Tour Of California is great and all that but the USA is a big place – and big market – that should have more pro racing happening there. It could even be a way of solving some PR issues in the post-Lance era (come in Lemond your time is now!)

Escalada a Montjuic

When was it?

1965 – 2007

What was it?

A single day or racing but involving two separate stages. A criterium of Barcelona (5 x 5km laps) followed by a 10km Time Trial climb up the side of Montjuic.

Why do we want it back?

Speed, speed, speed! Crazy crit racing in front of a fuelled up local crowd. Siesta. And then stomping your lungs out up a hill on your own. Awesome.

Paris – Brest – Paris (pre-Audax version)

When was it?

1881 – 1931

What was it?

A massive 1200km race from Paris to Brest and back again. Only held once every ten years due to logistical demands. All racers had to be self-sufficient. The first event was one in a time of 71 hrs 22 mins. The 1901 edition was so popular in the newspapers that it inspired the creation of the Tour De France. The 1911 edition saw the development of peloton/pack riding as opposed to the solo lone gunmen approach (the 1991 winning time was 50 hrs 13 mins).

Why do we want it back?

The PBP arguably hasn’t been the same since the change of rules which made it into a “it’s not a race” Audax thing. Bring back the clock, bring back the pro’s (the last pro’s left after the 1951 ‘Audax-ed’ edition) and let’s try and beat the 38 hrs 55 mins record.

fillmoreLap3_0404

San Francisco Grand Prix

When was it?

2001 – 2005

What was it?

A top-level UCI single stage event taking in the super steep roads of San Francisco.

Why do we want it back?

There was something great about seeing pro racers weaving around, clearly struggling, whilst trying to pedal up the Fillmore and Taylor Street climbs. And the “racing in a city” aesthetic gave the San Fran GP a bit of a Formula 1 Monaco feel.

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10 Comments
  1. Thanks, these are all mad in some way. I’m sure there’s plenty more we could invent too.
    Also, you might want to check the dates on your Paris – Brest – Paris info. Time seems to be running backwards in the initial info, and then the ride seems to be happening ten years after it finished. 🙂 Cheers.

  2. Pingback: Pedaladas de medianoche- San Francisco GP, el paraíso de los muros « Dorsal51

  3. Pingback: Races I would love to see back again. | No shoe plates in the hall please

  4. There are a lot of crazy cool cycling events like these happening right now all over the country. It’s called gravel/adventure road racing. Turns out they are unsanctioned and most have no prize money but the Pro’s are more then welcome to show up. We just won’t be worshipping them. I bet some would have a hard time doing a 200-300 mile self supported race on one bicycle.

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