Non-pro cyclists can get a taste of the spring classics by taking part in one of the many sportives based on famous race routes

Spring is just around the corner, which means that so too are the Spring Classics. Classics fans love the unpredictable nature of these races — watching the pros tackle tough terrain in what is often challenging weather conditions. But for some the role of spectator is not enough, which is why many of these races have a sportive version in which we mere mortals can tackle the same tough roads.

“These sportives are real challenges, especially this early in the season,” said Alex de Waard, of Sports Tours International. “The challenges can vary from super-steep short climbs of up to 25 per cent on the Tour of Flanders, to cobble stones the size of melons on the Trouee d’Arenberg during the Paris-Roubaix [Challenge].”

Despite the arduous courses, the sportive versions of the Classics are increasingly popular with riders worldwide, often taking place the day before the pro race. Last year, the Tour of Flanders sportive attracted 16,000 cyclists, while 15,000 attempted to tackle Amstel Gold.

Thankfully, sportive riders don’t necessarily have to do the full pro distance. At Amstel Gold, for example, there are multiple routes from 65km through to 250km.

Fair weather cyclists may prefer a summer event. The Vélo Club de Roubaix organises the original Paris- Roubaix sportive every other year. This year, the 210km event takes place on June 8. The Milan-San Remo sportive also takes place on June 8, three months after the pro race.

Handily, Sports Tours International, La Fuga and Sporting Tours all offer package deals, which generally include accommodation, meals, sportive entry, bike transfer and storage, airport transfers and the chance to cheer on the pros if the race takes place the following day.

For more information visit www.sportstoursinternational.co.uk; www.lafuga.cc; www.sportingtours.co.uk.

2014 Classic sportive dates for your diary

Saturday March 29
Ghent-Wevelgem
50/80/135/200km
€4-€10
Website>>

Saturday April 5
Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders)
75/134/247km
€25-€35
Website>>

Saturday April 12
Paris-Roubaix
Challenge
70/141/170km
€20-€30
Website>>

Saturday April 12
Brabantse Pijl Cyclo
70/130km
€8-€18
Website>>

Saturday April 19
Amstel Gold Race
65/100/125/150/200/250km
€40
Website>>

April 19
Scheldeprijs Cyclo
90/145km
€8-€18
Website>>

Saturday April 26
Liège-Bastogne-Liège
84/164/280km
€25 – €35
Website>>

Sunday June 8
Paris-Roubaix Cyclotourisme
210km
€TBC
Website>>

Sunday June 8
Milan San–Remo
290km
€60
Website>>

roubaix sportive