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The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling`s Greatest One-day Races

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The Tour de France may provide the most obvious fame and glory  but it is cycling`s one-day tests that the professional riders really prize. Toughest  longest and dirtiest of all are the so-called `Monuments`  the five legendary races that are the sport`s equivalent of golf`s majors or the grand slams in tennis. Milan-Sanremo  the Tour of Flanders  Paris -Roubaix  Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy date back more than a century  and each of them is an anomaly in modern-day sport  the cycling equivalent of the Monaco Grand Prix.  Time has changed them to a degree  but they remain as brutally testing as they ever have been. They provide the sport`s outstanding one-day performers - the likes of Philippe Gilbert  Fabian Cancellara  Mark Cavendish  Tom Boonen  Peter Sagan and Thor Hushovd - with a chance to measure themselves against each other and their predecessors in the most challenging tests in world cycling. From the bone-shattering bowler-hat cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix to the insanely steep hellingen in the Tour of Flanders  each race is as unique as the riders who push themselves through extreme exhaustion to win them and enter their epic history.  Over the course of a century  only Rik Van Looy  Eddy Merckx and Roger De Vlaeminck have won all five races. Yet victory in a single edition of a Monument guarantees a rider lasting fame. For some  that one victory has even more cachet than success in a grand tour. Each of the Monuments has a fascinating history  featuring tales of the finest and largest characters in the sport. In The Monuments Peter Cossins tells the tumultuous history of these extraordinary races and the riders they have immortalised.