Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic, 114 mile International Cycle Road Race Sunday 29th April 2012
With the London Olympic road races only a few months away, one of the final opportunities for foreign riders to test their legs on British soil will take place on Sunday 29th April when the Mountivation sponsored Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic sees 180 riders from over 20 countries take to the arduous roads of Rutland and East Leicestershire.
Never mind Zak’s glorious win last year, how about that crowd in Melton! That alone shows what a special race the CiCLE Classic is.
With the field for the race now being finalised it is clear that all of Britain’s top teams will face their hardest challenge ever with visiting professional teams coming from as far afield as South America and Africa.
With the latter continents being represented in the CiCLE Classic for the first time ever, they could not have chosen a more difficult edition of the race to commence their European campaigns as the distance of this years race has been extended by 15 kilometres to its longest course yet, 183 kilometres.
Race Director Colin Clews explains this move; “ Over the past few years we have been aware of the effect that the final sector of off road at Sawgate Lane has potentially had on the race result coming just two kilometres before the finish line in Melton’s Sherrard Street.”
“To create greater fairness in the race outcome and to also give spectators in Melton an opportunity to see the race in advance of the finish itself, this year, after taking in the final special sector at Sawgate Lane the race will retrace along the A606 to Whissendine for a second time before returning to Burton Lazers and entering the final two kilometres along the better surfaced Cross Lane. We believe that this addition will greatly increase the anticipation and excitement for the large crowd once again expected in Melton following the St Georges Day parade earlier that same day.”
2011 race winner Zak Dempster (Australia ) will head the field as number one and he will be supported by former National Road Race champion Russell Downing in the Endura team. That team appears THE team to beat with significant success already this year on French soil and veteran riders such as Downing fresh from two years riding with the Sky Professional team in mainland Europe. But 2010 winner Michael Berling (Denmark ) heads the revamped and strengthened Cycle Premier team and there will be no discounting the newly formed Metaltec team operated by Melton’s own Andrew Swain.
But the real importance of the CiCLE Classic to several foreign teams can be guaged by the return to the entry of Berling’s former Glud & Marstrand – LRO team from Denmark who have decided to shun Denmark’s biggest race of the season, the Herning GP, in order to target specifically the CiCLE Classic once again.
The changes to the race that will be evident to competitors and spectators to the race will not just be the distance. Following sponsorship from Newstyle Design & Print of Oakham all race publicity material and logos have been revised and updated, and the Hot Spot sprint award in Oakham will now be sponsored by Oakham Wines whose premises happen to be adjacent to the race start and sprint point in Oakham Town Centre.
“ We are very pleased to have local companies such as Newstyle and Oakham Wines come on board with the race”, said Clews,” the support of such companies along with our main sponsors Mountivation and Dolmio (MARS UK) is crucial to furthering our aim to provide top class racing for promising young British riders on home soil. Five years ago one such rider in the CiCLE Classic was a certain Mark Cavendish who now five years later is World Champion and one of the favourites for London 2012. Who from our field in 2012 might we expect to see in Brazil four years from now?”
The day prior to the CiCLE Classic the Rutland CiCLE Tour will be held once again in which amateur riders can test themselves over 100 and 50 miles courses in and around the area, and in addition earlier on the day of the race the CiCLE Classic Kermesse race will be held for lower category riders in and around the Owston and Burrough – on- the – Hill circuit. The latter race will feature members of the main sponsor, Mountivation’s own academy team of Junior riders.