Continental CiCLE Classic competition increases

When the 2008 edition of the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic takes to the roads between Rutland and Melton on Sunday 27th April it will contain the biggest presence of continental based teams ever seen in a British cycle road race outside of the annual Tour of Britain whilst also maintaining maximum British participation. In its second year as a full international race, this popular and unique Leicestershire and Rutland based race, once again sponsored by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and Mars (UK), will carry the additional banner of “Championing the East Midlands” and looks set to live up to that title.

Recently elevated by British Cycling to a status above that of the National level races that it used to accompany in the season long Premier Calendar competition, the East Midlands race remains the most coveted and challenging race on the British road racing scene and continues to grow year by year.

“Last year saw more spectators than ever at the roadside, especially in the villages around Owston, Burrough on the Hill and Whissendine, and in 2008 we want the free sporting spectacle that the race represents to be seen and enjoyed by even more,” said Race Director Colin Clews. “The ongoing support of emda and Mars has made the continuing development of the event possible and the high presentational standards that this enables the organisation to achieve is being rewarded by the greater participation and interest of foreign teams. Teams from Slovakia, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Belgium,and Ireland have already signed up to compete in 2008, with each promising to send only their very best riders to the race whose international standing and status increases as each year passes.”

With an expected field of 180 riders being authorised for the 2008 CiCLE Classic, the event also continues to push the boundaries of road racing competition in Britain, whilst maintaining the maximum levels of competition for British based riders in the run up to the 2012 Games. emda’s contribution to the development of sport in the East Midlands during that period will again be demonstrated by a team of local riders bearing the Agency’s name on their British Cycling Regional team jerseys within the race.

Speaking about emda’s sponsorship of the CiCLE Classic, Tracy Croft, East Midlands Coordinator for the 2012 Games said: “We are delighted to once again sponsor the CiCLE Classic. The race has a growing reputation nationally and internationally and showcases some of the finest rural landscapes in the region. Not only will the people of the East Midlands be inspired by having an international standard race on their doorstep they will be able to share the experiences of professional riders and take part in the Cyclo-Sportif in June.”

The 2008 edition of the CiCLE Classic will also set a precedent for a British one day race in carrying out all its pre race registration and administrative activities on the day prior to the event at its pre race HQ Hotel, which will again be the race’s hotel partner The Thistle at East Midlands Airport.

With the CiCLE Classic now also being recognised by local authorities, government agencies and businesses alike for its potential benefit to the local tourist industry, the event is taking on a form other than just a sporting event, and the ‘Championing the East Midlands’ logo now attached to the race reflects this.

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Colin Clews

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