Can you remember the first time you fell in love with pro cycling? It was probably late at night - in Australia anyway - watching the scenery in France fly by to a soundtrack of passionate tones and puns from Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. You express your commitment for three weeks every year as you drink coffee and chow down on snacks while the clock ticks over to 1am.
Then as your love grew, you discovered the Giro d'Italia. You love it more than the Tour de France, which of course you tell everyone. And you've probably rolled your eyes when people asked "When will Caleb Ewan win the Tour?'
Many fans stop there. Or watch the Vuelta. But for us tortured others, we also fell in love with the spring classics. The grand tours are a spectacle we'd never miss, but the classics? They're something else.
It's hard to explain what it is we love about the classics. Dusty roads, some white, some brown. Climbs called the Poggio or the Koppenberg. Places called Roubaix and Liege. Snacks called frites and beer called Duvel. Cobbles the size of your head.
Many of us perhaps unconsciously identify with the fields of Flanders as our nations' citizens bled there in various wars. The Italian classics - well, they're just beautiful.
Or we adore men and women who endure cycling in the toughest circumstances - like warriors. If we cycle ourselves, we like to imagine when we're riding in rain and wind we're Tiffany Cromwell struggling on for glory. Or if we forget to wear gloves, we pretend we're Heinrich Haussler or Tom Boonen feeling the vibration of the road.
We watch expecting anything to happen. A rider in front all day suffering a puncture, their race over. Or someone is in the wrong position before going in to a cobbled section, cruelly left to pedal home alone. We marvel at the sheer speed we only see in the classics as the peloton splits to be the first on the cobbles or a decisive climb or bend.
SBS this year will bring to you live the following major classics: Strade Bianchi, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche-Wallone, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
While SBS is not broadcasting the 71st Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Omloop) and the 68th Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (KBK), we bring you the following snippets from around the cycling world as teams and riders prepare for this weekend's opening double-header.
The men's peloton departs from Ghent and will cover 13 hills ("bergs") and 10 cobbled sections over 200km. There are many opportunities to attack on bergs such as the Muur-Kapelmuur, Valkenberg or Taaianberg, and the cobbled sectors of Haaghoek, Paddestraat or Lange Munte. This year, the new final climb Boembekeberg replaces the Molenberg and comes at 32km to the finish. The likes of Philippe Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet, Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra, Alexander Kristoff and world champion Peter Sagan are all hungry for victory.
The women's race is 123km and also starts in Ghent.
KBK and Omloop van het Hageland
Less than 24 hours after Omloop, the men line up for KBK, the women the Omloop van het Hageland. In KBK cobbles and bergs also feature in this 203km race however, it's more for the sprinters as the last hill comes with 50 kilometers left of the race. Cavendish has won here before, but so has typical classics rider, Tom Boonen - three times.
Here's a teaser for the Omloop van het Hageland