Commonwealth Games Champion and former World Points and Team Pursuit Champion Chris Newton, together with former Tour of Spain Points Champion Malcolm Elliott head the early entries for this year’s Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic to be held on Sunday 14th May.
Both head strong team entries from their respective squads, Recycling.com, and Plowman Craven Associates amongst the 110 riders already committed to testing themselves over what is considered possibly the most challenging and demanding road race course in Britain.
Amongst those that they will have facing them will be local favourite James Cambridge from Oakham, 4th last year, who recently demonstrated his good form with two stage wins in the Tour of San Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and the Australian FRF Couriers Team have declared Peter Macdonald, winner of the recent Tour of New Caledonia amongst its contingent for the CiCLE Classic.
With over £2500 on offer to the winners, the race is sure to be hard fought, and many of the riders are giving respect to the course by reconnoitring the more difficult sections in advance.
“Despite pre race warnings by knowledgeable locals, such as former top British professional cyclist Gary Coltman, that no one should be allowed to gain an early lead, that is exactly what many of the big names allowed to happen last year, and their absence from the top places was the result” said Race Director Colin Clews. ”This year a very different race is expected, and the prospect of a large 120 man bunch negotiating the minor roads around Pickwell, Owston and Burrough-on-the-Hill will be a really spectacular sight.”
Former double World Team Pursuit and Madison Champion Rob Hayles returns to the race for a second time and will be one of those sure to be looking to put behind him a less than perfect introduction to the race last year. He will also no doubt be looking to make amends for the loss of his titles at Bordeaux earlier this month, especially the Team Pursuit which was lost by only 36 thousandths of a second!
Demonstration activities and exhibits will take place in the centre of Oakham to accompany the start of the race at 11.00, and will continue until the race passes back through the town at just after 12.00. Similarly activities for local youngsters will take place on the finish line in Melton prior to the arrival of the race at approximately 3.00pm.
A full road closure will cover the passage of the race throughout, and the final 2 miles descent of the A606 trunk road descent into the centre of Melton, from the final special sector at Kirby Lane, will again be completely closed to civilian traffic for approximately 20 minutes.
Confirmation that the CiCLE Classic will be recorded for televising on British Eurosport as part of a deal agreed between British Cycling and CyclingTV.com is also a sizable boost for the race which is based upon the continental classics the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. “News of the Eurosport link is absolutely fantastic news for the event and will enable a much greater audience to see what a tremendous race, and race route, that we have in the heart of the East Midlands,” enthused Clews, “there are far too few opportunities for British riders to experience continental style racing on home roads, but this is what we have created within a short distance of Rutland and Melton, and for this to be captured on television will bring a new dimension to the domestic racing scene. It is a great credit to the foresight of local companies such as Masterfoods, The Melton Mowbray Building Society, Nottingham East Midlands Airport, Manor Farm Feeds and The Melton Times that they have come on board with the event at such any early stage in its growth.”