La Classicicissima is another old old bike race, starting up in 1907 (and an amateur 2-day version in 1906). The soon to be 2-time Tour de France winner Lucien Petit-Breton won the first race.
The 1920s were dominated by Costante Girardengo who won the race 6 times and had 5 further podium places. The Italian dominance continued into the 1940s with heavyweights like Alfredo Binda, Gino Bartali & Fausto Coppi all winning the race.
The ‘Hell of the North’ is one of cycling oldest still active race – the first edition taking place in 1896. The owners of Roubaix’s new velodrome were looking for ways to increase business so began the race with Paris newspaper Le Vélo.