Of the 4 major spring classics (Flanders, Paris Roubaix, Amstel Gold, Liege Baston Liege) which one is the toughest? I say Flanders for several reasons:
- It's the earliest so the likelihood of bad weather is at a premium. Anyone like the idea of riding 160K into the wind and rain/sleet, then turning around to face brutal hills? Even on a dry day you've got howling wind in your face for over half the race. Who thought it was a good idea to ride TOWARDS the coast?
- It might not have as much total elevation change as Amstel or LBL, but it's got 17 climbs crammed into the last 100K. And the vast majority of them are cobbled. In dry weather they are hard, in wet weather they are treacherous.
- Similarly, it doesn't have as many cobbled sections as Paris Roubaix, but the distance is the basically the same and PR doesn't have any climbs.
- Very rarely do more than 3 guys get to the finish line together. I can only remember once in the last 7 years that it happened (1999 with a Belgian Hatrick)