As his home town of Ilkley gets ready for the arrival of the Tour de France this summer, a cycling writer is about to release a history of the five most legendary ‘classic’ races in world cycling.

Peter Cossins presents The Monuments, a chronicle of five extraordinary one-day races and the riders they have immortalised.

Toughest, longest and dirtiest of all, these are the sport’s equivalent of golf’s majors or the grand slams in tennis.

These races are: the Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy.

They provide the sport’s outstanding one-day performers – the likes of Philippe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Peter Sagan and Thor Hushovd – with a chance to measure themselves against each other and their predecessors in the most challenging tests in world cycling.

Mr Cossins has been writing about cycling since 1993, first drawn into the sport while a student in bike-obsessed Spain in the mid-1980s.

He has covered 16 editions of the Tour de France and spent three years as editor of Procycling magazine and the last four as contributing editor to that title.

He has also contributed to the Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Express and the Sunday Herald.

In 2012, Mr Cossins collaborated with Tour de France winner Stephen Roche on his autobiography, Born To Ride.

The book will be published by Bloomsbury on March 13, costing £12.99 in paperback and £10.99 as an e-book.