Professional cycling events are plentiful worldwide but which three are the hardest to race in and complete? The Grand Tours would have to place at the top of the list taking into account all factors such as distance, number and skill of competitors, the difficulty of the track and of course the history of crashes at the event! Every year there are three such tours held in France, Spain, and Italy that take the cake for the hardest races in the world and attract the world's top athletes who put their bodies on the line for the ultimate in glory and success.
Pro cyclists begin their race season earlier than one might expect. Between the months of January and October professional bikers travel the world engaging in all types of racing from simple road races to triathlons and indoor time trials. In the middle of such a hectic schedule are the three Grand Tour races.
The Giro d'Italia
Beginning with the Tour of Italy, or the Giro d’Italia, cyclists race 2,159 miles through the low lands and mountainous regions of Italy. The race lasts three weeks and is as exhausting as it is beautiful. It begins in the month of May and attracts some of the best competitors in the world with its extreme challenge and tough course.
Tour de France
The second Grand tour is the well known Tour of France. This race gathers the most high-profile bikers. It has twenty stages and covers 2,235 miles of terrain.
All sorts of weather conditions exist and bikers are never sure what will happen when curves are taken at such high speeds. Sadly in 2011 bicyclist Wouter Waylandt lost his life on such a curve testifying to the danger to each biker as they ride in one of the world's toughest races.
The Tour of Spain
The last of the Grand Tours is Spain’s, Vuelta a Espana. It is raced during the month of August. Again it is a race lasting three weeks and covers 2,050 miles.
Other tour races, such as the Tour of Australia are held and have their own share of challenges. Take the Manayunk Wall in Philadelphia, PA, it is infamous for the 17 percent climb that is torture to both amatuer and pro cyclists alike. That being said, the Grand Tour races are still in a league of their own and are the hardest road cycling events that competitors will ride in their lifetime. They're certainly one for the bucket list and if you're a competitive cyclist, something you must have a go at, if you're prepared to take the risk!
Martin is a road bikes enthusiast, having cycled in many amatuer races, building himself up to one day compete in the grand tours. If you haven't yet seen one of these races first-hand, he recommends you jump on a plane and book yourself some accommodation, as you'll be in for one of the most exhilirating sports experiences that can only be experienced by watching from the side of the road.