SPECIAL OFFER Tour of Flanders 2025 available!

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to receive our Newsletter with exclusive offers, trips and promotions

Wait, want to hear more from us?

Sign up to receive our Newsletter with exclusive offers, trips and promotions

The must-do sportives and gran fondos that may not yet be sold out


More Info

Sportives. For many of us cyclists they are what we build our annual season of cycling around. They fill our bucketlists. They provide purpose and give us tangible dates in the diary to focus towards, helping to make sense of training rides, of turbo sessions or just good old experiences on two wheels.

According to ASO-owned UK sporting events organizer, Human Race, around 95,000 less UK cyclists participated in UK sportives in 2018, compared with the previous year. Is it that more cyclists are hanging up their lycra and binning their bikes you might wonder? Well judging by the fact that tour operators have experienced faster sell out times of their traditional top selling packages, it suggests that they are not, but they are choosing to take their passion abroad and participate in sportives and gran fondos abroad in higher numbers than ever before.

So with demand far outstripping supply, is it time to look beyond the blockbuster events and take a look at what other events are out there. The good news is there are lots. Lots of great events, offering breathtaking scenery, unrivaled organization and bucket-list-worthy heritage to boot. If following in the footsteps of your heroes and heroines is important, we look at several events that for whatever reason, remain in the shadows of the current best sellers. Feedback from those who have had the pleasure of taking part in them has lead us to explore what we feel, too many people have missed out on so far.

Ask a pro at the top of their game what the top 10 events the racing calendar would be and you’ll no doubt get a number of different answers, depending on who you ask. However, several events are likely to feature regularly. We’ve all heard of Etape du Tour. It’s affinity to the Tour de France, the world’s most famous bicycle race, will forever earn it the place at the top spot on renowned cycling events that keen amateur cyclists want to experience. Besides, how can 15,000 others be wrong? Hats off to the ASO for consistently delivering an event of its kind, with this volume of participation. Rarely have I ever come across a rider who didn’t enjoy taking part in it. There’s one problem. It’s fame amongst  us all has meant that entry packages, already selling out fast, are now like hot cakes, fuelled by exponential global demand. The events you may well hear mentioned include the following:

Tour of Flanders

Paris Roubaix

Milan San Remo

Strade Bianchi

Il Lombardia

The above represent what you may or may not have heard of before, the ‘Monuments’ Each are highly-coveted events with amateur versions held the very same weekend. If you were to add up all the amateur participants of the 5 one day classic races that have featured in the calendar for decades, you might just match the total number of cyclists who participate in L’Etape du Tour.

One example of such events is Italy’s  ‘Il Lombardia’. Known as the race of the falling leaves, it takes place in late October each year and offers pros and cyclists alike the chance to test their legs at the end of the season, capture the last of the sunny weather and be a part of what many say is the prettiest of courses, cycling up famous climbs and taking in views that would give any others a run for their money. In 2018 the entry list was fewer than 1800 others. Interested in reading more? Read ‘All Things Ride – Riding Il Lombardia’ article.

In the same country a little earlier in mid May, a lesser known event called Nova Colli takes place.