Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (2.UWT) Monday 22nd- Sunday 28th March (7-day stage race)

After suffering a COVID-19-related hiatus last year, the Volta a Catalunya is back and ready to celebrate its landmark centenary edition. To mark such a grand occasion, the organisers have concocted a leg-breaking route that features one individual time trial and no less than six exhausting days over hilly and mountainous terrain. Make no mistake, this is a race for the mountain goats! With its debut edition dating all the way back to 1911 the Volta a Catalunya is one of cycling’s oldest races, older even than the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Nice, and the Vuelta an España. Now on its 100th edition, the race has firmly established itself as a climber’s paradise – a place where the mountain goats come to test their legs ahead of the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France >> Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin as Irish starters! Froom, Valverde, and Quintana other notable entries!! https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/volta-a-catalunya/2021/gc/startlist/startlist courtesy of PCS & Photo: Feature @panache & above © Velo Collection (David Ramos) /Getty Images <<<

Men’s OXYCLEAN CLASSIC BRUGGE-DE PANNE 203.9km (1.UWT) Wednesday 24th March

This one-day Classic held entirely in the province of West Flanders actually started out as a three-day race, hence the name ‘Driedaagse’ in the past. This Flandrian semi-Classic is the perfect preparation race for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix thanks to its cobblestone sectors and several short, sharp climb. The big World Tour Teams are at the start mixed with some UCI-Pro Continental teams. Irish involvement of Sam Bennett for Deceuninck-Quickstep and Ryan Mullen for Trek -Segafredo. https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/oxyclean-classic-brugge-de-panne/2021/startlist courtesy of PCS & PHOTO: © VELO COLLECTION (LUC CLAESSEN) /GETTY IMAGES

Women’s Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne 158.8 km (1.WWT) Thursday 25th March

The last three editions of this race have all ended in big bunch sprints, with Jolien D’Hoore taking the win in 2018, Kirsten Wild in 2019, and Lorena Wiebes in 2020. All three of these riders will be aiming to double up this year and become the first rider in the history of the race to score multiple victories. They’ll face fierce competition from a number of up-and-coming sprinters, however, like Lotte Kopecky who has finished on the podium of the last two editions. Irish involvement with Alice Sharp and Kelly Murphy with the Rupelcleaning team https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/oxyclean-classic-brugge-de-panne-we/2021/startlist courtesy of PCS & Photo © Velo Collection (Luc Claessen) /Getty Images

E3 SAXO BANK CLASSIC 203.9km (1.UWT) Friday 26th March

First race back in 1958, the E3 Saxo Bank Classic is actually one of the younger Flandrian Classics but has wasted none of its time growing into one of the most prestigious one-day races on the calendar. Many cycling fans refer to this race as ‘The little Tour of Flanders’ and they couldn’t be more accurate with this nickname, the race mirrors its Flandrian cousin in both route and former winners. Like the Tour of Flanders and other Flandrian Classics, the E3 Classic follows a regular route that twists and turns its way through both West and East Flanders, scrambling up leg-breaking climbs in the hilly areas of Oudenaarde and the Flemish Ardennes. Climbs like the Paterberg, Oude Kwaremont, and Teigemberg all feature in this race, with the latter often proving decisive as the final climb before the fast finish into Harelbeke. Photo: © Velo Collection (TDW) /Getty Images & https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/e3-harelbeke/2021/startlist courtesy of PCS

Men’s 83rd Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields 254km (1.UWT) Sunday 28th March

This coming Sunday the peloton gets underway under the Menin Gate in Ypres for a new edition of Gent-Wevelgem. Mads Pedersen, last year’s winner, will have to deal with strong competition according to the provisional list of participants: a mix of fast men and classic riders. Who is the best in Wevelgem? Again Sam Bennett and Ryan Mullen at the start, amongst other also Wout Van Aert will be present …full provisional start list courtesy of https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/gent-wevelgem/2021/result/startlist/startlist

Women’s 10th Gent-Wevelgem in the Flanders Fields (1.WWT) Sunday 28th March

The 10th edition of Gent-Wevelgem is on the program on Sunday 28 March. Jolien D’hoore, the best on the day last year, will face stiff competition in the upcoming anniversary edition. Will the Belgian come next to record holder Wild with a second victory in a row or will a new name shine between Ypres and Wevelgem. 3 Irish girls on the start with their team Rupelcleaning (Provisional) and this must be the biggest race of their career bar the Worlds for Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy, and Alice Sharp. Photo courtesy of the race organisers and start list courtesy of https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/gent-wevelgem-women-elite/2021/result/startlist