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“It’s fantastic, a race you have to experience to understand how hard and beautiful it is, and not enough words are adequate.”
With just five weeks to go to the 10th edition of the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic all looks set for the most explosive and breathtaking single day cycle race to be held on Britain’s roads for many years. With thirteen foreign based squads together with Britain’s own top professional teams and England and Scotland’s potential Commonwealth Games squads signed up to be on the start line on Sunday 27th April 2014, the organisers are predicting a race which will contain representation from over 30 countries. A record for the CiCLE Classic and possibly any race outside of a World Championship or Olympic Games held in Britain.
First held in 2005 the race was an immediate success amongst British competitors offering a form and style of racing unheard of previously on British shores, mimicking instead the racing found only in the Classic spring races of Northern Europe such as the Tour of Flanders or Paris- Roubaix. Slowly but surely a similar spectator following has been created with people travelling from Europe and beyond to witness the race each April.
Constantly evolving over the past 9 editions of the race, but retaining its Oakham start and Melton finish, the organisers believe that this years 10th anniversary edition once again backed by the Giant Store (Rutland Water), Schwalbe Tyres and clothing company Dare2b, with a revised finish point close to the Market Place in the centre of Melton Mowbray, provides an even greater twist and excitement to a race not known for its predictability or ‘easy’ winners. Past competitors have included such names as Britain’s own Mark Cavendish (2007), Peter Sagan of Slovakia (2009), and too many of Britain’s World and Olympic Champions to mention. In those nine years only one rider, Britain’s Ian Wilkinson, has twice been successful in the CiCLE Classic with wins in 2009 and 2013, and heading this year’s revamped Team Raleigh pro cycling he will wear number one, attempting to make it three!
The 2014 field will include professional teams from Slovakia, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Latvia, Paraguay, Ireland and Belgium. Team Cult Energy – Vital Water from Denmark who in their previous format provided 2010 Classic winner Michael Berling returns, as does Michael himself as a guest of the organisation. In addition An Post – Chain Reaction, better known as Ireland’s Belgian based Sean Kelly Cycling Academy will participate in the Classic for the first time. The 10th edition seemingly drawing more teams than ever to take part in a race now acknowledged throughout Europe as being ‘THE’ race to win.
To emphasise this, the race’s 10th anniversary has received endorsement from several of the ‘greats’ of European Classic race winners such as Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara respectively four and three times winners of Paris –Roubaix, and the Tour of Flanders, with Fabian being the current holder of both titles in 2013.
“The race has come a long way in just nine years”, said Race Director Colin Clews. “We have a sporting event that the whole of the East Midlands can be proud of and which highlights what the immediate area has to offer in terms of unique events and beautiful countryside to anyone wishing to visit. Previous editions of the CiCLE Classic have been immense but in the 10th edition we can confidently forecast the best is yet to come.”
Integrating the established and traditional challenges of the narrow and rough roads to the South of the A606 between Oakham and Melton the 2014 route with the introduction of the new challenge of Cuckoo Hill and the ascent of Burton Road rather than its traditional descent to the final 25 kms will only ignite the ‘finale’ showdown for those waiting in Melton town centre where various attractions are being organised in the Market Place as well as the St Georges day parades earlier in the day.
Being staged for the first time earlier in the day, and starting and finishing in Oakham town centre, the inaugural Junior CiCLE Classic for Britain’s aspiring Olympic champions of the future looks to already be taking on a life of its own. With an Irish National team from the Stephen Roche academy including the current Irish Junior road race Champion, a Belgian squad from Asfra –Flanders and a team from the Isle of Man, the race, which is also part of British Cycling’s road race series, (http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/juniorroadseries), is already approaching international status, something that no other British junior race will achieve in 2014. Taking the riders on a challenging route involving five laps of a circuit based on Teigh, Market Overton Thistleton and Edmondthorpe with two excursions into a rough section of road through Barrow, the race looks to be as was its professionall ‘parent’, an instant success with riders and spectators. That race will start in Oakham town centre at 9.00 am and finish at the same point adjacent to Okham Market Place around 11.30.
Clews explained: ‘The interest created for the Junior Classic has surprised even ourselves and applications to take place far exceed the 100 places authorised for the race by British Cycling. For the large numbers of cycling fans that the CiCLE Classic brings out each year it is a ‘double’ dose of top class racing and we hope that the new villages that will see the race will take the new event to their hearts in the same way that the Classic has been by villages such as Owston and Burrough on the Hill.”
The International CiCLE Classic starts at 11.00am in Oakham and is expected to finish around 15.35 in Melton Town Centre with an earlier first passage of the finish line at around 15.00 hrs.
Rutland-Melton CICLE Classic