Report – Women’s CiCLE Classic


Rebecca Durrell (Drops Cycling) wins ‘brutal’ first Women’s CiCLE Classic, but with satisfaction

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Report – Women’s CiCLE Classic

Event Press Release

In the absence of race favourite and teammate Alice Barnes, called away on international duty, Rebecca Durrell still managed to take the honours on behalf of the rapidly improving Drops Professional Cycling Team at last Sundays inaugural Women’s CiCLE Classic.


After-race definitions of the race as ‘brutal’, and ‘the hardest race any of the Women riders had ever experienced’, the Women’s CiCLE Classic nevertheless has drawn post race universal acclaim in providing a ‘real road race’ as opposed to the short circuit events that traditionally form the Women’s race calendar in Britain.

With the organisation seeking to provide, as with the Men’s international race each April, a race exuding the character of a Belgian Classic race, unsurprisingly many teams and competitors drew comparison of last Sunday’s race to events that they had contested in continental Europe with its quality of presentation, route and atmosphere.

“The race organisation are delighted with the way the Women responded to what we had billed in advance as probably the hardest Women’s race anywhere in the World,” said CiCLE Classics Race Director Colin Clews. He continued ”We made no concessions in our course planning or to any difference in toughness of the Women’s course alongside that used for the men, the only exception to this being a reduced overall race distance.”

“We set out to raise the standard and quality of Women’s racing in Britain, and the result was a unanimous ‘thumbs up’ from Britain’s Women cyclists and a demand for more of the same!”


With 56 women setting out from the Melton town centre start point, no sooner was the flag dropped for the official start just outside Burton Lazers than the race was ignited by attacks from the top names amongst the field, and the first casualties of this fast start being felt as early as the ascent of the ‘easy’ side of Cuckoo Hill, later to become the last categorised climb in the Queen of the Hills competition.

It was not until the first passage of Owston village and first lap of the Owston, Burrough-on-the-Hill and Marefield circuit that the race split properly and a war of attrition commencing at the front of the race with an initial 30 strong group slowly whittled down over the succession of short sharp climbs and off roads sectors of farm tracks that the CiCLE Classic is uniquely known for providing.

By this time Julie Erskine (Team Ford Ecoboost) had staked her claim to the Queen of the Hills completion with a second place on the Burrough Hill climb, and a first on the subsequent Cold Overton hill. Although eventual race winner Durrell made a late bid to take the points at the final climb of the day on Cuckoo Hill shortly before the race entered the race finishing circuit in and around Melton, her efforts had begun too late and Erskine held on to the Hills award that she had fought for throughout the race.

The race was not without internal drama however as a serious road accident on the A606 at a point which the race planned to pass necessitated hurried consultation between the Police and the Race Organisation to divert the race route to continue to its finish point in Melton town centre. It is a tribute to the local Police that despite this more urgent and unplanned call upon their time, they were still able to maintain support for the race, without which the race would have had to have been cancelled before its finish.

By the time the race entered Melton town centre to begin its final lap through Burton Lazers and Stapleford a group of four comprising, Durrell, Elizabeth Holden (Team Ford Ecoboost), Bethan Hayward (Podium Ambition) and Steph Clayton (Mammouth Lifestyle RT) has established a lead of over a minute on a chasing group of six, into which Erskine, her ambition for the day successfully achieved had secured her place to the finish.

With none of the first four willing to give anything away to their rivals, and with a £1000 first prize awaiting the race winner, with the leading group increasing their lead to over two minutes over their nearest chasers the appreciative crowd awaiting their arrival were treated to an all-out sprint for the line, with Durrell taking the win ahead of Holden by the slimmest of margins.

The awards were presented to the winners by Melton’s mayor, Councillor David Wright.

The toughness of the race can be judged by the fact that only 15 riders finished to 104 kms course that the race eventually followed, although even those that dide not make it this time, vowed to be back in 2017 to try again, having experienced and enjoyed a ‘real race’!

The event was greeted with excitement from all involved and the potential of the CiCLE Women’s now becoming an additional feature of the local and national sporting calendar a real possibility. Satisfaction with the inaugural Women’s race from the race sponsor Peter Stanton means that the event is already secure for 2017, and all that remains now is for a date on the national cycling calendar more suitable to the race organisation to be negotiated with British Cycling for 2017.


With a £4000 plus prize list and £1000 first prize, the event already offers rewards above those available at all Britain’s domestic races for Women, and the potential for this also attracting teams from abroad and the event gaining elevation to international status similar to the Men’s CiCLE Classic each April cannot be discounted at even this very early stage in the events life.

Vehicle sponsorship for the event was provided by the Sandicliffe Group, showing off a wide range and variety of brands that they feature in their range, and TimeFix of Sherrard Street , Melton sponsored the lead timing car as they also do at the International race each year. Meanwhile the race received support also from Melton BID, and  Manor Farm Rfeeds of Owston sponsored the Hot spot sprint competition in that village. … continued after advert


1 Rebecca Durrell Drops Cycling Team
2 Elizabeth Holden Team Ford Ecoboost
3 Bethany HaywQard Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
4 Steph Clayton Mammoth Lifestyle Racing Team
5 Julie Erskine Team Ford Ecoboost
6 Gabriella Shaw Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
7 Amy Gornall Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
8 Fiona Hunter Johnston Fusion RT Fierlan
9 Laura Greenhalgh Les Filles Racing Team
10 Kelly Murphy Boot Out Breast Cancer C.C
11 Sophie Lankford Aprire Bycycles
12 Alice Sharpe SunSport Velo
13 Jayne Dickens Vision Racing
14 Tamsin Vicary Manchester Wheelers Club
15 Charlotte Heywood Twickenham CC
16 Michelle Lee Team Milton Keynes
17 Sophie Thackray SunSport Velo



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