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  • Back to Blog  

    Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic - Race Preview

       Words by David Hicks

       on 10/04/2018 16:49:00

    Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic

    As the Classics season in northern Europe begins to wind down, excitement starts to build for Britain’s very own spring Classic – the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic. Entering its 14th year, the CiCLE Classic is the longest established international one-day race in Britain and also holds the record for the most competitors ever to take part in a race on British soil with around 180 riders taking to the start line each April. That fact alone would make this race a big deal for British cycling fans, but what makes it really unique in the UK is the numerous off-road sections that litter the 189km parcours.

    What makes it so special?

    Those off-road sectors bring a taste of the continental classics to the Midlands, with the race setting out to mimic the style and atmosphere of racing that you’d normally associate with Flanders or Roubaix rather than Rutland. Much like Paris-Roubaix, the off-road sectors are rated on a five-star scale with the Barleyberg, Somerberg and Sawgate Lane granted the toughest rating – these sectors would be a struggle to drive along let alone ride a road bike over! In total, the riders will take on 11 sectors, most of which are ridden on farm tracks with terrible surfaces, covering 14.5km of the route. This includes the two new sectors, Barleyberg and StaplePark, that were added for the 2017 edition. The Somerberg is THE definitive section of the race, the toughest off-road sector which – tackled from both directions – drags the riders across rutted and potholed farm tracks before firing them uphill through a cow field and back down the other side.

    Find our more about the CiCLE Classic >>>

    Scattered in between these off-road sectors are the race’s other defining feature – hills. With six key King of the Hill markers, these climbs are short, sharp, and steep affairs not dissimilar to what you might find in the Flemish Ardennes. While not defined, the route is endlessly rolling outside of these hills and when combined with the off-road sectors, creates a fiendishly tough day out for the riders. The final key thing to keep an eye out for during the race? The prizes. Outside of the usual cash prizes, the CiCLE Classic has a coupe of fantastically local prizes available. For instance, if you’re the first rider through Owston village you’ll pick up your weight in beer courtesy of a local brewery. If you make that breakaway stick until Melton Mowbray, the rider that leads through the town for the first lap will also win an extra special enormous pork pie.

    cicle-classic-profile

    When & where is it?

    Run off on the roads around Rutland and east Leicestershire, the race takes place this year on Sunday 22nd April. Formalities get under way from Oakham Market Square at 11am with the riders taking in two laps of Rutland Water before diving off into the small and twisty lanes in the surrounding area. It’s here where things start to get interesting as the peloton tackle six King of the Hill climbs and eleven off-road sectors. With the bunch significantly thinned by the tough riding and rolling terrain that the region offers, the remaining contenders head north towards Stapleford Park and into Melton Mowbray where they cross the finish line before completing another lap of the finishing circuit and fighting for the victory on the final passage of Melton.

    cicle-classic-map

    Who's racing?

    The 2018 edition of the CiCLE Classic is the most internationally diverse in the race’s history with 36 teams comprising a total of 143 riders, representing 25 different nations. The confirmed field provides a strong foreign challenge of ten teams, possibly representing the biggest threat to the domination of British squads in recent years, although even then the winner has not necessarily been of British nationality. Neither, has the winner come from the highest ranked of the British teams with the 2017 winner being provided by the second tier Melton-based Metaltek-Kuota team – with the retirement of 2017 winner Dan Fleeman, a new victor is guaranteed for this year’s edition.

    Once again, the race will provide the single opportunity for riders from lower ranked British teams to take on the might of both British and continental based professional teams, offering the exciting prospect of a race featuring surprises galore, both in the unique CiCLE Classic parcours, and unknown riders being given too much leeway by their more experienced fellow competitors.

    “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,“ said Race Director Colin Clews.

    Bikes fit for the CiCLE Classic >>>

     

    Where's the best place to watch the race?

    With the race criss-crossing Rutland and Leicestershire there’s plenty of places to catch the action. Plus, with the race covering many of the same roads numerous times if you work things out you can make a well-timed dash to catch the race in a few different places. First up is the ceremonial start in Oakham where you can see all the teams presented before the race convoy departs for two fast-paced laps of Rutland Water. Hang around in Oakham and you’ll see the race pass back through en route to the first off-road sector, the Barleyberg. Any of the off-road sectors and King of the Hill summits will provide great entertainment for the spectator and really encapsulate the unique character of the CiCLE Classic but two places stand out – the Somerberg, discussed above, and Owston. This small village comes alive on race day with the peloton passing through no less than six times as they tackle the tough Manor Farm off-road sector in the heart of the village, and here you’ll find a barbeque and teas as well as announcements from race commentator, Hugh Porter. Time it right, and you might even make it to Melton in time for the finish.

    cicle-classic-hero3

    Ride the roads yourself

    If you’re eyeing up an early season challenge, and the CiCLE Classic sounds like your cup of tea, you can sign up for the Rutland CiCLE Tour the day before. Run by ITP Events and starting from Giant Store Rutland, this ride offers a number of different routes to take in the very best roads that Rutland has to offer.

    The race and sportive are supported by Giant Store Rutland – visit the team in-store to see all the latest from bikes, clothing and gear from Giant.

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