The 12th edition of the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic takes place on Sunday 24 April 2016 this year and promises to be bigger and better than ever. With just under five weeks to go to the race, CiCLE Classic has just announced highlights of the race are to be aired on Channel 4, alongside the news that ONE Pro cycing team have confirmed the race will be their return to the British cycling circuit.
Established by former England wicket keeper Matt Prior, ONE Pro has ridden with some distinction in the season openers of Tour Down Under in Australia and Langkawi in Malaysia, before embarking in recent weeks upon their first European Spring Classics season.
Having ridden at a higher level than most British teams so far this year, ONE Pro who must start as race favourites, will have last year’s winner Steele Von Hoff amongst their team. The Australian who rode for NFTO squad in 2015 managed to pull off what even he thought was a surprise win at his first attempt at the CiCLE Classic last year.
ONE Pro despite their solid competitive base this year, will not have things their own way by any means as early entries for the CiCLE Classic show that Britain’s Raleigh-GAC squad have already named Sebastian Mora amongst their squad. In recent weeks the Spaniard took the Scratch race World Champion’s ’Rainbow jersey’ at the UCI World Track Championships in London, and together with his partner, collaborated with Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in taking their crucial and race winning lap gain in the UCI World Madison Championships at the same London Olympic Velodrome.
Add to this two new foreign teams making their debut at this year’s CiCLE Classic, Christina Jewellery from Stuttgart who will field former Amstel Gold Classic race winner Stefan Schumacher in their team and WSG Amsterdam with several former World Tour riders such as Mike Terpstra, and we have all the ingredients of a fantastic race.
Around 35 teams in total, amounting to some 200 professional cyclists from across Europe and worldwide will once again take part in the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic. The event is perfectly timed to bring down the final curtain upon the Spring Classics season that is now fully underway in Europe with races such as the ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’ and ‘Paris- Roubaix’ taking place just before the CiCLE Classic.
The developments in recent weeks have been absolutely great for the race, and also for Rutland and Melton. We set out to put the area on the national and international sporting map, and over the past 12 years we believe that we have achieved that and the terrestrial TV coverage can only enhance the race further and showcase what we have to offer as a region.”
Race Director, Colin Clews,
ONE Pro Cycling Team have done wonders this year in appealing to a wider audience to create interest in cycle sport and we are delighted that they have such a high regard for the CiCLE Classic that they wish to use it to show themselves to their British fan base, when they could have attended other more established races in Europe.
It is not just the professional men who will experience the delights that the CiCLE Classic has in store, because this year the first ever Women’s CiCLE Classic will be held on Sunday 17th July 2016. Already over 60 entries have been received for the new event, which was only brought about by generous personal sponsorship from Pete Stanton of Northampton, a long standing fan of Women’s racing. This week that race which will encapsulate the same character of the men’s race, was also given a boost by the confirmation that local motor dealership Sandicliffe will provide the official race vehicles for that event.
The same day as the Women’s CiCLE Classic, a non competitive all comers event, the Dare2b Melton CiCLE Challenge will also be held with those riders arriving at the same finish line as the Women’s race later in the day.
About the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic
The Men’s elite, UCI 1.2 category race is modelled on the Belgian classics, in particular the character of the Tour of Flanders. The Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic is raced on rough small roads over 184 km. The race provides one of the only opportunities for British riders to test themselves against foreign competition on home soil.
The race started on a national level but soon attracted international interest. In 2013, 22 nations were represented. It is over-subscribed every year and 30-40 entries are sent back. The race is limited to 200 riders.
The race starts in Oakham and finishes in Melton. It takes a meandering route across country with the now legendary off-road section known as the Somerberg and the newly included ‘late in the game’ inclusion of Cuckoo Hill
Hugh Porter MBE, provides race day commentary. He is one of Britain's greatest former professional cyclists, winning four world titles in the individual pursuit as well as a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1966. A road and track cyclist, he continues to ooze enthusiasm for the sport and in particular this event.
The race has attracted big names over the years: including Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Ed Clancy and Eurosport commentator, Magnus Backstedt. Magnus rode in the 2012 edition which proved to be a tough year due to the weather conditions with only 22 finishing the race. This added to the glamour and pursuit of winning and has further strengthened its appeal internationally.
Because of the race’s unpredictability, in terms of weather and technical surfaces, it is very hard to predict a winner, which adds to the excitement. The race has raised funds to secure an hour’s televised production on Channel 4 helped by crowd-funding.
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