Believe or not, we’re already over a month into the 2023 season, with racing already underway in Australia, South America, the Middle East, and Southern Europe.

But while we’re excited to see the sport’s best men and women back in action–and some of the sport’s biggest names have already started their seasons on a winning note–these races are merely the appetizer, whetting our palettes for bigger races still to come.

Here’s a rundown of the races we can’t wait to see in 2023.

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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad — February 25

cycling omloop het nieuwsblad women

We’re purists, which means despite the fact that the racing season started in mid-January, we don’t consider the season to have really started until the running of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first race of the season in Belgium. With events for both men and women, the “Omloop,” as it’s affectionately called, offers everything we love about the spring Classics: rain, wind, cobblestones, and many of the short, steep “bergs” that speckle the Flemish countryside.

On the men’s side, Belgian riders and teams often lead the way: Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won last year’s race after an attack just before the Bosberg, the day’s final climb. He won’t be back to defend his title though, which leaves the door open for one of Soudal-Quick Step’s many stars to a big win on home turf for the Belgian super-team.

The women’s event should be headlined by the Netherlands’ Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar), who outsprinted her compatriot Demi Vollering (SD Worx) to win last year’s race. Van Vleuten also used the Bosberg as a launchpad to victory, dropping all but Vollering with a vicious attack on the cobbled climb. Racing her final season, van Vleuten will be back to defend her title, with riders from SD Worx and Trek-Segafredo (we’re still waiting on the final start list) hoping to spoil her Omloop swan song.

How to Watch: FloBikes

Strade Bianche — March 4

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Tim de Waele//Getty Images

Taking place on the white gravel roads of Tuscany, Strade Bianche is easily one of the hardest and most beautiful races of the year. A race in which the strongest rider always wins, it makes sense that the event’s list of winners reads like a Who’s Who of the sport’s best racers.

For example, Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won last year’s race with a solo attack 50 kilometers from the finish line in Siena, an incredibly gutsy move that only a rider like Pogačar would attempt (and pull off). And before Pog, previous editions were won by the Netherlands’ Mathieu van der Poel (2021), van Aert (2020), and France’s Julian Alaphilippe (2019). Clearly, this is a race where only the best succeed.

On the women’s side, van Vleuten is again the top favorite: she won the race in 2019 and 2020 and finished second to Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) last year. And keep an eye on Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), who won the race in 2017, and Poland’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM Racing), a four-time podium finisher who’s still searching for the top step.

How to Watch: GCN+

Milan-Sanremo — March 18

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The first of cycling’s five Monuments, Milan-Sanremo (294km) is the longest one-day race on the calendar. And thanks to the fact that the outcome is almost always decided in the final 10K, the riders say it’s the easiest race to finish, but the hardest race to win.

We love Milan-Sanremo’s slow build to the finish as the riders head south from Milan toward the coast, then wind their way along the sea toward the climbs that make-up the Monument’s traditional finale—especially the Poggio, a short, punchy ascent just a few kilometers from the finish line whose treacherous descent often creates more gaps than the climb itself. Case in point: Slovenia’s Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) used a dropper post to leave the rest behind on the descent, laying it all on the line to take the biggest win of his career.

And while there’s no women’s Milan-Sanremo, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, a major stop on the women’s WorldTour and a pillar of the former women’s World Cup series, takes the place the next day—and can be streamed live via GCN. Italy’s Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) won last year’s race, outsprinting her compatriots Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM) to take the victory.

How to Watch: GCN+

Tour of Flanders — April 2

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Tim de Waele//Getty Images

Many riders consider the Tour of Flanders (known locally as the “Ronde van Vlaanderen”) to be the hardest one-day race on the calendar. The men’s event features over 250km of the toughest terrain in the Flemish region of Belgium, with tight, technical roads, cobblestones, and short, steep climbs called “bergs.” The course is so challenging that it can take years for a rider to master the nuances of the race enough to actually contend to win it.

Last year’s men’s race went to van der Poel who shrugged-off a late-start to the season–and a stunning challenge from Pogačar–to win the Ronde for the second time in three years. Both riders are expected to return this year, alongside van Aert, who was enjoying the form of his life but was forced to skip the event after testing positive for COVID-19.

In the women’s event, look for another battle between the Dutch and the Italians with van Vleuten headlining a list of contenders that should include her compatriots, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD-Worx) and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), both former winners of the event. For the Italians, Longo Borghini should lead the way. SD Worx got the better of van Vleuten last year, working over the Dutch superstar in the finale to set-up a victory for Kopecky, the Belgian champion.

How to Watch: FloBikes

Paris-Roubaix — April 8 and 9

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Tim de Waele//Getty Images

The “Hell of the North.” The “Queen of the Classics.” Whatever you call it, Paris-Roubaix is probably our favorite race on the calendar. The final half of this 255km Monument includes about 55km of Northern France’s worst cobbled roads (spread over 29 “sectors”), so it’s packed with drama and always produces a worthy champion—even when it’s a dark horse. This year’s race returns its usual spot on the calendar (one week after the Tour of Flanders) after pushing back a week to accommodate last year’s French national election.

Saturday brings the third-ever women’s Paris-Roubaix (145km), which starts in Denain and follows the final 17 sectors of cobbles of Sunday’s men’s race—all the way to the finish line in the Roubaix velodrome. Both editions have been won solo: Great Britain’s Lizzy Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) won the inaugural event with a long-distance attack in wet, muddy conditions, and Long-Borghini won last year with a strong counter-attack in the final hour after the leading group reformed. Van Vleuten has never won this race, but is skipping the event to target the hillier Ardennes Classics two weeks later. In her place, the Dutch will have Vos to root for, and she would certainly love to add a Roubaix cobble to her palmares.

In last year’s men’s race, the Netherland’s Dylan van Baarle (INEOS-Grenadiers) won the first cobbled Monument in his team’s history after attacking the leading group about 20km from the finish line in Roubaix. And the Dutchman moved to Jumbo-Visma this past off-season, giving van Aert one of the strongest and most experienced teammates anyone could ask for.

How to Watch: Peacock

La Vuelta Femenina — May 1 to 7

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The 2023 edition of La Vuelta Femenina will start along the Costa Blanca.
Ventura Carmona//Getty Images

For the past 8 years, the organizers of the men’s Tour of Spain have run a women’s event during the men’s grand tour. Starting as a one-day race run alongside the last stage of the men’s grand tour, the event grew to include four days of racing, but that’s hardly a grand tour, isn’t it?

Enter the new and improved La Vuelta Feminina which in addition to being expanded to seven stages has moved to its own spot on the calendar–away from the men’s event that often overshadowed it. The course is yet to be unveiled, but we know the race will begin on the Costa Blanca, which means beautiful scenery and close proximity to lots of hard climbs.

Van Vleuten has already said she’s racing–she won the last two editions–and looks to make this the first victory of what she hopes will be a hatrick of women’s grand tour wins in 2023.

How to Watch: Peacock

Giro d’Italia — May 6 to 28

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Tim de Waele//Getty Images

While the Tour de France gets all the prestige, riders generally consider the Tour of Italy (the “Giro d’Italia”) to be much, much harder. This year’s race begins in the Abruzzo region and with the exception of a summit finish in Switzerland, stays entirely within Italy. The race finishes in Rome for only the fifth time in its history.

Always characterized by its mountains, the 2023 Giro offers seven mountain stages and six summit finishes, including a mountain time trial on the Giro’s penultimate day that finishes atop the Monte Lussari. As usual, the final week is a beast, with three more summit finishes before the final time trial.

This year’s race features three individual time trials, which is probably why Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) has made the focal point of his season. The reigning world champion won last year’s Tour of Spain to take the first grand tour victory of his career, and as one of the sport’s best time trialists, likes what the course has to offer.

Start lists are far from finalized, but we expect Evenepoel to be challenged by Slovenia’s Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) a 3-time Vuelta winner who’s tried several times but failed to win the Giro, and Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers), winner of the 2018 Tour de France. All of them should have the defending champion, Australia’s Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe), to contend with as well.

How to Watch: GCN+

Giro d’Italia Donne — June 30 to July 9

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Dario Belingheri//Getty Images

In the absence of a women’s Tour de France, the Giro Donne was traditionally the most prestigious women’s stage race on the calendar. But the success of last year’s Tour de France Femmes means the Giro Donne’s organizers will need to step-up their game in order to keep up with their French rivals. Case in point: it was recently announced that beginning in 2024, RCS–who organizes the men’s Giro d’Italia–will take over the Giro Donne, which means more money and more infrastructure will be funneled toward this important women’s event.

Details have yet to emerge about this year’s course (they always arrive at the last minute), and we’re curious to see which riders attempt to tackle the Giro Rosa and the new Tour de France Femmes two weeks later. Last year we said that winning both would be a tall order, but van Vleuten proved us wrong by winning the Giro and then Tour de France Femmes a few weeks later. She’s again tackling both races in 2023.

How to Watch: GCN+

Tour de France — July 1 to July 23

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Michael Steele//Getty Images

The 2023 Tour de France should again be one of the highlights of the year–and this year’s edition has several tricks up its sleeve. The race begins in the Spanish Basque Country and quickly heads into the Pyrenees, where early mountain battles will begin shuffling the General Classification. Stage 9 brings a return to the Puy de Dôme, an extinct volcano that’s one of the most famous climbs in Tour de France history–and hasn’t been climbed in 35 years.

The final two weeks cover some of the toughest climbs in the Alps, including the high-altitude (and steep) Col de Loze and the race’s only time trial: a hilly ITT on Stage 16. As the race approaches Paris the riders will hit the Vosges mountains, for a tough penultimate stage featuring many of the climbs used by van Vleuten to seize control of last year’s Tour de France Femmes.

The defending champion, Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will return to defend his title, and he’ll face a stiff challenge Pogačar, the winner in 2020 and 2021. The Slovenian seemed to learn a few lessons after relinquishing the yellow jersey midway through last year’s Tour, and that could mean bad news for Vingegaard and his team.

How to Watch: Peacock

Tour de France Femmes — July 23 to 30

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JEFF PACHOUD//Getty Images

After facing years of pressure from advocates and racers, the organizers of the Tour de France finally announced the return of a true women’s Tour de France. Consisting of eight stages, the race began on the final day of the men’s Tour and finished one week later. It was a resounding success.

This year’s Tour de France Femmes will follow a similar pattern: starting in Clermont-Ferrand on the last Sunday of the men’s Tour, the race covers eight stages suiting a variety of riding styles.

The first six stages offer chances for sprinters and puncheurs, which means exciting racing for viewers and fans. But the final weekend has us most excited with a summit finish on the Col du Tourmalet on Saturday and an individual time trial on Sunday.

Van Vleuten overcame a slow start to dominate last year’s race. If things go according to plan she’ll defend last year’s title, and possibly complete a historic triple by winning the Vuelta, the Giro, and the Tour all in the same season.

How to Watch: Peacock

UCI World Championships — August 6 to 13

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Con Chronis//Getty Images

The UCI World Road Race Championships move to early-August this year, which makes the Tour de France an even more important event as it’s the best place for riders to hone their form. And the events couldn’t be taking place in a more stunning location: Glasgow, Scotland. Raced by national teams and run entirely without race radios, these are always some of the most intriguing and intense races of the season.

The hilly city circuit should favor the riders we’re used to seeing at the front of the World Championship road races: the Dutch (led by van Vleuten, the defending champion) and the Italians on the women’s side (both teams are too deep to single-out any one rider), and puncheurs like Evenepoel (the defending champion) and France’s Julian Alaphilippe (winner in 2020 and 2021) on the men’s. Each winner will spend the rest of the season and the first half of the next in the rainbow jersey awarded to the winner of each discipline.

How to Watch: FloBikes

Vuelta a España — August 26 to September 17

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Tim de Waele//Getty Images

As the final grand tour of the season, the Tour of Spain (“Vuelta a España”) is traditionally a last chance for riders hoping to end the year on high note, earn a contract for the following season, or get themselves in shape for the fall Classics. With lots of mountains and a start list filled with motivated riders, the Vuelta always delivers some of the year’s most exciting finishes.

At this point in the season it’s tough to predict who will add the Spanish grand tour to their program, as lots of things can change between now and September. Evenepoel (the defending champion) and Roglič (winner in 2019, 2020, and 2021) will have more than enough time to target the Vuelta after competing in the Giro, but a lot can happen over the course of a season.

We also can’t wait to see what kind of hot mess Movistar brings to the race: as documented by the Netflix series “The Least Expected Day” the Spanish squad always finds a way to both animate and implode. Our hope is that they let their American up-and-comer, Matteo Jorgenson, try and challenge for a high GC finish.

How to Watch: Peacock

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Whit Yost

Since getting hooked on pro cycling while watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship in Philadelphia, longtime Bicycling contributor Whit Yost has raced on Belgian cobbles, helped build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux as an assistant director sportif. These days, he lives with his wife and son in Pennsylvania, spending his days serving as an assistant middle school principal and his nights playing Dungeons & Dragons.