“Every little helps” save CiCLE Classic

With only days remaining before the deadline set to cancel this years Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic due to lack of sponsorship, TESCO have stepped in and agreed a deal with the organisers to ensure that this year’s race will go ahead as planned on Sunday 17th April 2011. The five figure deal, including a contribution from the TESCO Charity Trust comes after months of speculation following the loss of the race’s former principle sponsor, the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) owing to that agency being disbanded.

Over the past six years the CiCLE Classic has risen from a new event to being Britain’s only single day international road race and taking with that accolade a race that has brought life back to an otherwise unexciting British Road race scene. The race has broken new ground with its unique character and atmosphere which has proved popular with competitors as well as amongst local village and town communities through which it passes on its challenging rural 106 miles route. It has also been widely accepted as possibly the biggest annual one day sporting event in the Rutland and East Leicestershire area, showcasing the areas natural beauty to the thousands of spectators who now flock to the area to see the race from across Britain and Europe.

“After so much hard work by so many people over the last six years it would have been heartbreaking to see the event disappear, not only as a sporting event but from an economic impact and increasing tourism point of view.“, said Race Director Colin Clews. “That Britain’s biggest retailer should align itself with the CiCLE Classic which is Britain’s biggest one day cycle race is marvellous news and could not have been better timed. We are absolutely delighted that a company as big as TESCO has recognised the commercial value of the race not only to itself, but also to the Rutland and Melton area in general. It is not insignificant that the race takes place between the towns of Oakham and Melton Mowbray which house two of the company’s biggest local stores. The popularity of the event can be evidenced by the fact that so many that had seen and enjoyed the race over the past six years had contacted Clews offering sums of money from their own pockets to keep the event alive.

The scale of the event however has grown so much that it was clear that only the arrival of an alternative major sponsor following the demise of EMDA would allow the event to continue.

“The race organisation are indebted to EMDA for their contribution to the development of the event”, continued Clews, “but the race has now a momentum of its own and TESCO have provided the race with a new lease of life, and most importantly, a FUTURE”.

Tony Fletcher – Corporate Affairs manager for TESCO – commented “we heard about the risk to this year’s event and we were impressed by both the reputation of the race internationally, and the local support. As a result, in cooperation with the TESCO Charity Trust, we are delighted to have been able to help secure this year’s race. We hope that by doing this the organisers will now have the time to secure the longer term future of this important event” An immediate change to the race will be that it will now revert to its original title and be known as the TESCO Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic.

Over the past four years teams from countries as wide ranging as Australia, Slovakia, Denmark and Ireland have contested the race and this year looks set to extend that international profile with ten foreign teams invited to take part.

No. 1 on the programme from amongst the 32 teams and 180 starters is expected to be last years winner, Denmark’s Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand).

The introduction of TESCO as title sponsor of this year’s race will not be the only change to the CiCLE Classic from the editions that have gone before. The Holiday Inn chain of hotels joins the race as the race accommodation partner; Belgian beer company Duvel is it’s new hospitality partner, and Mavic, service providers to the Tour de France, are to supply a neutral wheel service, and augment the moto service provision available to all competitors.

It is also likely that the race will also include a further four special sectors which will be faced by the competitors, one on each of the gruelling Owston, Burrough and Marefield circuits. This latter change being possible due to a request made by the owner of a business on the route for the race to pass through his premises.

In addition to the TESCO title sponsorship, organisers are continuing negotiations with a prospective presentational sponsor, a company that is seen as ideally placed to further enhance the growing reputation and status of the CiCLE Classic.

For further information:

Colin Clews

Embargo until 16.00 Wednesday 19th January 2011.


The Rutland –Melton CiCLE Classic began in 2005 and was held for two years as a counting event in the British Cycling Premier Calendar series. It gained a nickname as ‘Britain’s Paris-Roubaix’ as a result of taking the riders over rough farm and rural roads as well as wide highways.

In 2007 it gained sponsorship from the East Midlands Development Agency and as a result changed its name to the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic as it was entered for the first time onto the UCI international Calendar as a 1.2 race. On that first running as an international the winner was British Veteran rider, and former Tour of Spain Green Jersey winner, Malcolm Elliott.

The following year the CiCLE Classic was excluded from the British Premier Calendar series by British Cycling, for reasons that have never been properly explained or justified. As a consequence the event has run as a self standing one day international race, the only one day event in Britain to hold international status since 2008.

Following the 2010 event and a change of government in Britain the East Midlands Development Agency was closed down and although willing to continue sponsorship, was unable to so thereby placing the race under threat of cancellation. Until the timely intervention of TESCO.

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