The longest race of the season at a leg breaking 298km. In the past it was called the “Sprinters Classic”, but with the recent race changes it has become a race more for an all round strong rider who has prepared well in the winter. I was lucky enough to travel there with Specialized and had a pass that got me inside the barriers before the race. Despite this race being one of the recognized monuments the atmosphere around the start is pretty relaxed, with fans having a lot of access to the riders. In 1907 Lucien Petit-Breton won the race in a time of 11hr 14min 15sec, and the last time the race went its full distance Simon Gerrans threw his bike over the line at 6hr 59min 24sec (which was also 10km longer).