Cycling is not just a sport. It is a way of life, a unique experience, and a way to be an athlete with very powerful legs. Millions of people around the world practice this sport, competing in the local races and the more prestigious ones, instead of wasting time fishing, arguing with strangers online, or visiting sites like Ladbrokes. So, what are the most coveted races to participate in? Here is our humble list.

Paris-Roubaix

On this list, you will find bicycle races that span over stages and days, with several different disciplines and events. Paris-Roubaix, however, is not such a race. It is a one-day event in France that barely scratches the border with Belgium. It is one of the oldest races and one of the so-called Monuments. If you perform well, your ranking in UCI will see a significant increase.

The path is made of cobblestone and demands some serious tweaking of the cycles. The race is so demanding that many cyclists choose to forego the spike in points, fearing the damage to their bicycles and bodies the track might cause. The track is looked after by a group of fans that was formed in the 80s, names the Friends of Paris-Roubaix.

Giro d’Italia

The Tour of Italy is not for the faint of heart. Since 1909, cyclists compete in several stages, and the participants have to be members of the UCI WorldTeams, with the possible exception of a few lucky ducks who get to join as the wild cards. It is one of the three Grand Tours (the other two will also be discussed in this piece) and it lasts for three weeks.

The interesting thing about this tour is that it has been held every year since its inception, though there were a few breaks for the two World Wars. The winner of the Giro gets to wear the special pink jersey as a testament to their achievement. The race was originally a marketing stunt by La Gazzetta dello Sport and now it is organized by RCS Sport, their subsidiary.

Vuelta a España

Another Grand Tour, Vuelta a España, came about as an answer to Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. There are at least two time trials and riding over a mountain chain. As Giro has the pink jersey, the red jersey is awarded to the racer with the lowest aggregate time. Another similarity with Giro is that UCI WorldTeams are the ones allowed to participate.

The race was strongly dominated by the Spanish in the 2000s, though the Britons have had much success in recent years. The race changes courses yearly, to keep things fresh and add an extra note of challenge to the mix.

Tour de France

If you have not heard of Tour de France, it’s high time you did. This is the third Grand Tour and, arguably, the best-known one. Multiple stages of the race are held over three weeks in France, and different races demand different cycles. The yellow jersey is the coveted prize in this event that has been held over a hundred times since its creation.

If you are a fan of major cycling races, such as Grand Tours, or if you consider yourself a fairly good cyclist, you may have considered becoming a professional. How can you do it? Is there some special training or a connection you need in order to get started? Let’s find out.

Prepping Your Body

You need to take care of your body. Apart from regular workouts on and off the bike, you need to develop proper nutrition. Remember that the carbs are there to give you energy and that proteins build your muscles. It’s much more complicated than that, but we feel that this is the basic step you need to take into consideration. Consult a nutritionist, forego junk food, and eat five times a day.

Don’t focus your exercises exclusively on cardio. You need muscle power to get ahead in races. To get the training you need in order to go pro, you may want to find a flexible job, as life sometimes gets in the way of the things we are passionate about. Consider that professionals spend at least 25 days a year on their bicycle. It might be a good idea to acquire a personal trainer.

Examining the Terrain

All the body preparation in the world will not get you ready for the different tracks worldwide competitions have to offer. There are rough, uphill, and cobblestone tracks that pose a challenge to even the most experienced cyclists.

To prep yourself for professional races, you need to examine the tracks of Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and others. To begin your journey, though, it is enough to try out against different routes in and out of your city.

Competing

To start, find out whether your local community is hosting any racing events. After you have won a few races, you can familiarize yourself with the UCI rules concerning the age, equipment, and so on. If there are no local competitions, you may need to travel to test your skills. Remember that you will not be able to compete in the big tours if you are not a part of a qualified team. You need to turn a few heads before becoming a professional cyclist.

Age

Like with any sport, age is a significant factor. To compete professionally, it’s best if you start very young. It’s not a pleasant thing to hear, but if you are just starting and you are over the age of 30, racing might not be what’s in store for you. Many athletes retire at this age, as the physical capabilities of youngsters are way beyond even young adults. If, however, you are sufficiently young, we wish you the best of luck.