A record-breaking 36 teams with riders representing 25 different nations will be on the start line for the 14th edition of the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic next month.
The field confirmed this week for the event on Sunday, April 22, provides a strong foreign challenge of 10 teams, possibly representing the biggest threat to the domination of British squads in recent years.
Once again the race will provide the single opportunity for riders from more lowly ranked British teams to take on the might of both home and continental-based professional teams, offering the exciting prospect of a race featuring surprises galore, both in the uniqueness of the CiCLE Classic course, and unknown riders being given too much leeway by their more experienced fellow competitors.
Race director Colin Clews commented: “We have always prided ourselves at CiCLE Classic that we enable more lowly ranked British competitors to take on foreign competition on British roads, the only event in the country doing so this year.
“Seeing the riders rise to the challenge is always a satisfying time and this year is likely to be no different than the 13 editions that have gone before.”
While Melton-based Metaltec-Kuota – who provided last year’s winner Dan Fleeman – are not taking part this year, there are many alternative local based teams such as the East Midlands Regional Team, wearing the jerseys of the Mount Group RDA that will still be there to receive the cheers of locals, along with OVN, PB Performance and Nottingham based Leisure Lakes.
While the CiCLE Classic has tried to emulate the likes of the major Northern European Spring Classic races, it is interesting to note that many of the latter races have now followed the ideas of the CiCLE Classic by adding into their own routes sections of gravel roads to spice up their appeal.
Clews continued: “When we set out to recreate the Spring Classic atmosphere of continental Europe in our race, something that we believe we have been successful in doing, little did we think that the very races that we sought to copy, would come around to copy us.”
The CiCLE Classic will once again be the first UK-based International cycle road race of the year.
As in 2017 this will be only the second year in the CiCLE Classic organisation has staged its three event programme in a two day format.
The men’s international race on Sunday, April 22, is followed by the third edition of the women’s professional CiCLE Classic on Sunday, June 3, alongside the fifth junior men’s CiCLE Classic. Both these events will start and finish in Melton town Centre.
All three events will cover unique on and off-road courses in and around the Rutland and East Leicestershire countryside with total distance covered by each being the only difference.
Also new will be several sponsors with Bills Bar of Oakham sponsoring the start area in the Market Place, and ReallyMoving.com providing the new sponsorship of the King of the Bergs competition which will be contested as usual over six climbs within the overall race route.
Pearce’s jewellers of Melton and Oakham also step in to sponsor the timing car that will proceed both the international race in April as well as the junior men’s and women’s races in June.