‘The longest day yet in ‘Hell’ for riders in the East Midlands’
The longest edition yet of the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic on Sunday 25th April looks set to be one of the most hotly contested races on the British calendar for many a year.
Despite several British teams having some of their riders racing abroad, Britain’s only single day UCI Europe Tour race sees three former winners of the CiCLE Classic and eight foreign teams on the start list for this years race.
Heading the line up will be last years winner, Ian Wilkinson; this year sporting the Endura Team colours; wearing number one, and vowing to not only take the honours for a second time, but to do so in a solo breakaway that will allow him to take the extra £600 bonus on offer from Maestro UK for anyone winning in this manner. His task will not be not be made easy as he faces once more the Danish Glud & Marstrand team who last year provided runner up Michael Berling, who returns once again with a stronger team that ever, and intent on moving up one place.
Also in the field are 2006 winner Robin Sharman and 2007 winner evergreen Malcolm Elliott, who openly admits that the CiCLE Classic is his favourite race, and has demonstrated over the past two years that he can never be discounted in this race of constantly changing fortunes. While Sharman is making a comeback this season with his own Basso Bikes Team, his course knowledge may well also see him close to the front of the race.
The foreign challenge is however, together with the rough and narrow roads which characterise the race, the enduring unknown factor of the race. In addition to Glud & Marstrand strong teams are being fielded by Dukla Merida-Trenchin from Slovakia; Sparta Praha from the Czech Republic, Ruiter de Kapellan of the Netherlands, an Irish National squad headed by Olympian and former National Champion David O’Loughlin, and three teams from Belgium; Deschyutter; Asfra Flanders and CT Tommac.
Before reaching the narrow roads and the rough sectors that characterise the race the 180 riders taking the start will once again race two laps of the wide public roads around Rutland Water before the first ‘hot spot’ sprint of the day in front of what is expected to be a large crowd in the centre of the start town of Oakham. This year this ‘hot spot’ is sponsored by Cavells Outdoors of Oakham who amongst several other local Rutland businesses are opening for the whole of race day. In addition an Italian market and events for youngsters will be held in support of the race.
Once into the narrow farm roads around Owston and Burrough-on- the-hill; none of which have been improved by the bad weather experienced over the recent hard winter; it will be everyman for himself over the five listed climbs forming the East Midlands Airport sponsored King of the Hills competition, and the eleven special sectors before the finish line is reached in the centre of Melton Mowbray around three in the afternoon.
Local interest centres on James Cambridge from Oakham, who has featured strongly in previous editions of the race rides again as a member of the Basso Bikes team, and Oakham and Melton residents Ryan Henry and Paul Bennett take part as members of the East Midlands Development Agency team. An interesting late addition to the emda team is British Cycling under 23 academy rider Simon Holt who return from his base in Italy especially to ride the race.
Once again the race coincides with the local St Georges Day celebrations with parades taking place in Melton prior to the race finish, and in Whissendine after the race has passed through that village. Owston as usual will be at the heart of the race with six passages of the race taking in every road in the village at some stage in its circuitous route, and the villagers providing their now annual welcome to visitors to the event which is now firmly part of the local sporting programme.
The event also benefits this year by support from Leicestershire and Rutland 4×4 Response Group who are providing additional mobile marshalling personnel to assist the safe passage of the race through its rolling road closure.
Main sponsors of the race are once again the East Midlands Development agency and Domio (MARS UK), with additional sponsorship provided by Rouleur magazine, Dare2b extreme clothing and Tim Norton Motor Services of Oakham who once more supplies Ford motor vehicles to the race. The Melton Building Society again sponsors the ‘Most aggressive rider’ award and East Midlands Airport supports the ‘King of the hills’ competition made harder this year by the inclusion of a second ascent of Cold Overton Hill at mid point in the race.
For further information and press accreditation:
Colin Clews, Race Director.
- Tel: +44 (0) 1572 787726
- Mob: +44 (0) 7979 856262
- email: email@example.com
- website: www.cicleclassic.co.uk