From spring classics to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, it’s time to mark your calendars for the best cycling races to watch in 2021. After a year of setbacks and COVID restrictions — the 2021 season is underway, with early season races taking place.
Road bicycle racing is the cycle sport discipline of road cycling — typically held on paved roads. Stage races or tours can take one day to multiple days — and consist of several mass-start or time-trial stages ridden consecutively.
GFG has put together the top 5 races you MUST tune-in for in 2021.
Strade Bianche – March 6
Cobblestones aren’t the only troublesome road surface that can juice up a race in Tuscany — as this race is now famous for its dirt roads. The Strade Bianche is a race of strength and beautiful scenery. The women’s Strade Bianche covers 136km, with eight sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads. In the women’s lineup, watch out for Annemiek van Vleuten, winner in 2019 and 2020, and a favorite to win again. On the horizon, Anna van der Breggen, the current world champion, and Elisa Longo Borghini — top racers in the field looking to stop van Vleuten’s winning streak.
Tour of Flanders – April 4
It’s considered the toughest and most challenging one-day race — the Tour of Flanders. Any race ridden over cobblestones is a test, but the Tour of Flanders is possibly the hardest of all. It is said to take years for a rider to master the nuances of the race. Among the women’s racers, look for a clash between the Dutch and the Italians, with champion Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak heading a list of incredible contenders.
Giro Rosa – July 2 to 11
Officially called the ‘Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile,’ — the Giro Rosa is a 10-day Italian stage race that is the lengthiest, most challenging, and most prominent women’s race in 2021. Last year, Van der Breggan won the race for the third time in her career.
When asked about the lack of publicity for the famed race, “It can survive. For riders, it’s the biggest race on the calendar, it has beautiful stages — it has a boastful name and it’s iconic. Everybody wants to win a stage and everybody wants to win the GC. But the live coverage and sometimes the misinterpretation of information that’s a step that should be taken, but it will survive because it’s such a beautiful race,” stated Marianne Vos, Dutch multi-discipline cyclist. “The Giro is the dream race, it really is, but for little girls, if you don’t see the images, if you don’t see the emotion of the race it’s really difficult to get that feeling.”
The Tokyo Olympics – July 24 to August 8
For cycling fans, the action starts right away with the women’s and men’s road races taking place during the Games’ opening weekend. There’s a new cycling discipline called BMX freestyle. It will feature daredevil cyclists performing a series of tricks and jumps in a park loaded with ramps and obstacles. Both races take place on circuits on the outskirts of Tokyo. NBC once again will be providing extensive coverage of the Olympics, broadcasting events across several channels, including NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and USA Network.