Full report: Tesco CiCLE Classic 2011

Australia’s Zak Dempster (Rapha Condor Sharp) has won the 2011 Tesco Classic in Leicestershire.

We also have a vide of the sprint finish from MCJ Media – Click here to view _ | Another video here: http://vimeo.com/22579610

Zak Dempster wins the 2011 Tesco CiCLE Classic.

Australia’s Zak Dempster (Rapha Condor Sharp) has won the 2011 Tesco Classic in Leicestershire. Part of a select group of 18 riders that raced into the packed Melton Mowbray high street, Dempster came out of the final bend and gassed his rivals as he sped to the line well clear of his cloest rival. It was his third big win of 2011.

The Race
It is almost May and this was the first big event for 2011 with a load of foreign teams coming to the Rutland Water area to do battle with the Brits and battle they certainly did. In a post race interview, Endura Racing’s Dave Clarke who was 10th, said “There was a lot more pushing and shoving, a lot more fighting to get position and Endura racing held their own in that.”

The race began for many during the week before when they went over the course to remind themselves of the farm tracks and what they would needed to do on the day to minimise the bad luck that was going to strike riders during the race. Then, on Saturday at the Race Headquarters, teams started to assemble in the hotel while the mechanics assembled their bikes in the car park bathed in sunshine. For some, like Rob Partridge (Endura Racing), it was their first race in Britain in 2011 and as ever, friends off the bike but rivals on it, gathered to talk about their season so far.

The sun that had been shining so brightly on Saturday, was shining even brighter on Sunday as the teams converged on a very busy market town of Oakham for the presentation before the Tesco CiCLE Classic rolled way. Long queues of riders formed near the podium and team by team they were presented to the crowd by ‘celeb’ Hugh Porter who was recognised by the spectators lining the barriers. At 11am, the riders were flagged away and for the next hour around Rutland Water, the race was a series of attacks.

The snaking peloton switching from one side of the road to the other as riders used all of the closed road to launch their attacks to try and get clear. Eventual winner, Zak Dempster, was one of many and showing he had the form to race flat out from start to finish. With so much action going on, a field of 160 plus riders raced through the towns and villages on the course where the obstacles for the riders saw some crashes as well as punctures and other freak incidents like a rider swallowing a bee.

The race was still together for the sprint in Oakham except for a lone rider from the Eseg Douai team who at the King of the Bergs sprint had been was replaced out front alone by Tom Southam (Rapha Condor). His break never stuck and Zak Dempster came through the feed zone for the first time at the head of affairs with a peloton that was strung out but largely intact. The lone attacks continued off the front and out of Owston approaching halfway, a Spanish rider from the KTM team was on the move chased by Graham Briggs of the Rapha Condor Sharp team.

As ever, there were crashes like this one for Peter Johnson of the Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago team.

The front group was getting smaller as the roads and speed took their toll but there was certainly more riders in contention than in previous years. Into the final quarter of the race, the front group numbered only 15 but as ever, a look behind and the road was filled with chasers and soon a group of 50 were at the front. A dangerous looking move by one of the French riders though saw him  coming out of the final sector over the Somerberg with a minutes lead over a much reduced group. With so many from the big teams in the chase group though, the Frenchman’s lead soon started to come down.

Motorpoint had James Sampson and Tobyn Horton driving the chase group and Rapha sent Dan Craven and Dean Downing to the front to let the lone leader ‘dangle’ in the wind and with only eight kilometres to go, the leader was swallowed up. The attacks then started all over again with the riders now able to see the finish of Melton Mowbray.

Into the finale and Dempster dived into the final bend under one of the French riders who had overcooked it and sprinted for all he was worth to the line where he had time to raise his hands.

Top 3 in the 2011 Tesco CiCLE Classic; Erwin De Kerf, Belgium, Zak Dempster, Rapha Condor Sharp and Marcin Bialoblocki, Motorpoint

RIDER REACTIONS
Zak Dempster: The Tesco CiCLE Class was Dempster’s third big win in Britain this year and he was all smiles at the finish.  “We’re all just mates“ he said talking about the work his teammates had done for him. “We’re a professional team though and I said to Dean and Dan; ‘Briggsy and I are both going good and I can win today just like I did at Dengie Marshes’ and they all committed 100 per cent. The win is great but I take a lot of satisfaction of being able to finish the job off after all their hard work. Dean and Dan and Tom and Jimmy early in the race, committed to helping us. Briggsy and me have been in good shape in the last month  and we’re hoping that continues. I’m just really rapped.”

“I was not happy with the results last year with five or six podiums and a second in the Tour series but I think I’m a better rider than that. John Herety and the team put their trust in me and give me chances and I’m rapped at being able to finish the job off.”

“The sprint was pretty crazy. I have a bit of a reputation for diving into the last corner and I have ended up with my neck in the fence (Chester) and I looked at it on Google Maps this morning because I hadn’t seen it. I was really aggressive with 80k to go which shagged me a bit but I felt good. At the last corner, the Frenchman was sprinting into it and I could see he was going to over cook it and he did.”

Just after the second time through Somerberg and Zak Dempster is giving it big licks at the front to chase the Frenchman down.

“Being able to chuck the arms up was a great feeling. That is what this is all about and what I go out on my bike for every day. I do it for fun and winning is fun more than anything.”

Zak also dedicated the win to a supporter call Willem. “After my house got bungled the other week, he was one of the first guys on Twitter to offer support and he has a lot of health issues right now and. He is a really great guy and a supporter of the team in a bigger way than anybody else except for perhaps the sponsors themselves.”

Endura Racing’s Director sportif Julian Winn meanwhile was happy with his riders. “Rob Partridge punctured at a critical time with about 20 k to go so that gassed him and then he punctured again on the last sector a few k from the finish when he was in the leading group and Scott did as well. So that put those guys out and left Clarky in there for the finish which left us with less options.”

“Evan and Rob did their job early on to cover the moves and soften things and make sure nothing escaped but we didn’t come away with any reward for that work. When you have bad luck like that, you can’t come away disappointed because you have to come into this race with an open mind knowing that something like that can happen.”

Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint)  said afterwards it wasn’t a bad result for him. It was a nice race with good weather and they had five guys in the move but Tobyn he punctured in the last section. “I punctured 20k to go but chased back. I have very good form”.

Above: Dean Downing and Dan Craven driving the chase group.

Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp): One of the most experienced pros in the peloton is Dean Downing who is pretty rapid in a sprint but that didn’t stop him committing to his teammates Graham Briggs and Zak Dempster in the finale to bring a lone break back.

“Nothing was sticking at all early on. The two laps around Rutland Water are normally quite dangerous but it was okay this year. There was a massive crash that I was involved in though where some one t-boned me from behind and must have hit me so hard it moved my shoe cleat which is why I was behind in the convoy after changing my shoe“.

“It was quite flowing and quick this year where as last year it was really frantic. So we went to the front going into the first sector and from then on it kept splitting and getting back together. Then it split a lot later on and 15 guys went up the road and that looked like that was it and we had three in it but other teams missed it and they chased on the climb and closed it down.”

“Then it was a group of a around 50 coming into Somerberg for the second time. Zak was flying today. So was Briggsy and the rest of us were also going good. Today we worked brilliantly as a team. I had two punctures but managed to get back. Well, the first one. The last one was with three k to go and that was race over!“

“Just before Somerberg, I was at the back with Dan and struggling with cramps because I’d had to chase back in the convoy to get to the front group after a puncture. ‘Demers’ (Zak Dempster) came back and said can you give us a hand and I said to him I’d just chased back and he looked so  comfortable, as did Briggsy.”

“In your own mind, you know if some one is going better and so Dan and me sat on the front and we had one or two Motorpoints helping out and we caught the lone leader on the final climb before the last sector. We went into that last sector and there were a lot of attacks and I was about fifth wheel and hit  a big hole and the tyre went straight down. I knew I wasn’t coming back from that.!”

In the peloton with Graham Briggs on the loops of Rutland Water.

It was great Barbeque weather in Owston …

First attack of the day from one of the internationals in Europe.

Ireland’s Martyn Irvine on his Dolan bike attacks yet again only to suffer punctures later on.

Endura’s Scott Thwaites leads the leading group through Somerberg for the second time.

Zak Dempster, yet again at the front of the race. He was certainly on fire!

James McCallum: A common sight at the finish, riders faces covered in dust from a long time in the saddle.

PHOTO ALBUMS
In two photo albums, more than 300 images which capture the atmostphere of this unique event as well as the determination and troubles of the riders. My thanks to my pilot, Martin Gilbert from Ireland, for a great job in getting me around the course.

Photos frrom Camera 2 at the CiCLE Classic

MORE PHOTOS: You can see more photos from the race by Scott Choucino – click here now!

RESULT
1. Zak Dempster, Rapha Condor Sharp
2. Erwin De Kerf, Belgium Hand in Hand
3. Marcin Bialoblocki, Motorpoint
4. Jonny McEvoy, Motorpoint
5. Jose Ramirez, KTM
6. Tomas Okrouhlicky, AC Sparta
7. LLwelyn Kinch, GWR
8. KasperJorgensen, Glud & Marstrand
9. Lasse Bochman, Glud & Marstrand
10. David Clarke, Endura Racing
11. Dan Fleeman, Raleigh
12. David Skrzpczak, Eseg Doui
13. David McGowan
14. Nikki Ostergaard
15. Nicholas Gastavsson
16. Graham Briggs, Rapha Condor SHarp
17. Javier Pomares, KTM
18. Ian Bibby, Motorpoint
19. Pierre Drancourt @13 seconds
20. Liam Holohan, Raleigh @17 seconds
21.Bastien Delrot, Eseg Douai @19 seconds
22. Dan Craven, Rapha Condor Sharp @30 seconds
23. Leo Fortin, Eseg Douai @36 seconds
24. Steve Lampier, Sigma Sport Speialized @48 seconds
25. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing @56 seconds
26. Tobyn Horton, Motorpoint @1 minute
27. David McLean, Pasta Montegrappa Zheroquadro @1.05
28. James Sampson, Motorpoint @1.25
29. James Stewart, UK Youth @1.41
30. Rob Partridge, Endura Racing @1.55
31. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor Sharp @1.56
32. Jack Adams, Forme Procycliste, San Lamere @2.11
33. Szlachta Wojciech, Pasta Montegrappa Zheroquadro @2.12
34. Wouter Sybrandy, Sigma Sport Specialized st
35. Andrew Hawdon, Herbalife Wheelbase @2.22
36. Tora Salvador, KTM Murcia @2.41
37. Rafa Segarra, Twenty3C-Orbea @3.22
38. Jason Flloks, Primal Europe RU Training Ricci @6.19
39. Andy Coupe, Herbalife Wheelbase st
40. Ashley Cox, Corley Cycles st
41. Matt Higgins,  Corley Cycles st
42. Alistair Kay, Herbalife Wheelbase st
43. James McCallum, Rapha Condor Sharp st
44. Michael Berling, Glud & Marstrand (last years winner)
45. Richard Handly, Raleigh @6.34
46. Andrew Griffiths, Twenty3C-Orbea 6.36
47. Martyn Irvine, Ireland 6.47
48. Tom Barras, Cycle Premier Metaltek st
49. Kames McLaughlin, Pendragon Le Col Colnago
50. Ward Lapierre, Deschuytter-Westkerke
51. Jody Crawforth, Hargroves Cycles-Trant
52. Gunnar Gronlund, Twenty3C-Orbea 6.53
53. Perry Bowater, Asfra Flanders 6.58
54. Chris Opie, Pendragon Le Col Colnago 7.36
55. Evan Oliphant, Endura Racing
56. Geoffrey Deresmes, Eseg Douai @11.58
57. John Tanner, Sportsover BBM st
58. Stephen Adams, Sigma Sport Specialized st
59. Dan Smith, Velo 29
60. Ross Creber, Cycle Premier Metaltek
61. James Cambridge, Renault Rotor Colbert
62. Rob Carter, Velo 29
63. Arne De Schuyter, Deschuytter-Westkerke
64. Kristian Downs, Twenty3C-Orbea
65. James Scott, Renault Rotor Colbert
66. Phil Mooney, Team Raleigh
67. Mike Cuming, Twenty3C-Orbea
68. Mark Chris, Velo29 @12.16
69. Simon Wilson, Cycle Premier Metaltek 14.55
70. Ryan Sherlock, Ireland
71. Richard Mardle, Felt Colbournes
72. Mark Perry, ViCious Velo
73. Thomas Hruby AC Sparta
74. Oscar Casarubious, KTM
75. Ray Alexander, Pasta Montegrappa Zheroquadro
76. Matthew Hamilton,  Deschuytter-Westkerke
77. David Palmer, Renault Rotor Colbert
78. Duncan Moralee, Sportscover BBM
79. Rob Hayles, Endura Racing
80. Kevin Dawson, Sportscover BBM
81. Richard Meadows, Pendragon Le Col Colnago
82. Joe Norledge, East Midlands
83. Arne Govaert  Deschuytter-Westkerke
84. Matt Myers, Pasta Montegrappa Zheroquadro
85. Ben Simmons, Wiggle
86. Dale Appleby, Cycle Premier Metaltek
87. Rob Orr, Forme Procycliste, San Lamere
88. Matt Ullmer, Team Qoroz
89. Antoine Fouldrin, |Eseg Douai
90. Damien Shaw, Ireland

FORMER WINNERS

2005: Scott Gamble, East Midlands Region
2006: Robin Sharman, Recycling.co.uk
2007: Malcolm Elliott, Pinarello RT
2008: Kieran Power, Pezula RT
2009: Ian Wikinson, Halfords Bikehut
2010: Michael Berling, Glud & Marstrand
2011: ?

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