Whilst the future of the 7th edition of the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic planned for next April still remains uncertain, its ‘sister’ race the Rutland International CiCLE Classic cyclo-cross will go ahead at Whitwell on Sunday 16th January race organisers confirmed this week.
“Sadly despite much morale support being offered, at present the search for a new main sponsor, or various new smaller sponsors for the International CiCLE Classic has failed to elicit the local support that had been hoped”, said Race Director Colin Clews, “The search will continue until our deadline date of mid January. In the meantime forward planning for the race goes on. International teams are in place and many new innovations to the event are promised for what is already widely considered to be the best cycle road race in Britain, and the country’s only international calendar race. The resulting race will be bigger than ever and even more attractive, potentially bringing even more visitors to the area. But, without the necessary funding required we may not have a race”, Clews concluded.
Since its inception in 2005 the CiCLE Classic race has been responsible for new inward investment into the area in excess of £250,000 with over £70,000 being brought in during 2010 alone. These figures having been verified by the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) who until its recent demise was the race’s main sponsor.
The race has also been responsible for promoting and maintaining several local community projects including the St Georges Day parades in Melton Town Centre. “Whilst the total sum required to secure the race is a minimum of £15,000, sponsorship packages of as little as £200 are on offer, and with sufficient numbers of these the race can still go ahead,” Clews added.
Meanwhile, the International Cyclo-cross, will once again bring to the area, some of the top competitors in this exciting off road winter form of cyclesport. This takes place alongside the edge of beautiful Rutland Water at Whitwell Leisure Park in cooperation with landowners Anglian Water, and supported by Rutland County Council and Dolmio pasta.
Last year the main Elite Men’s event brought to the area ten Belgian riders, including current World number five Rob Peeters who led a clean sweep of the top places by his countrymen. A similar ‘invasion’ by top Belgian riders is expected for the forthcoming event in January as the course specially laid out for the event is planned to mirror the type of courses used for the top Belgian cyclo-cross races, which regularly draw crowds of 20,000 plus spectators. Once again the Rutland cyclo-cross will form the sixth and final round of the British National Trophy series ensuring that all the top British riders will also be on hand, and with places in the British team at the World Championships in Germany at the end of January ‘up for grabs’ the Rutland race is seen as crucial to their preparation.