The beautiful setting of Rutland Water, which has seen many triathlons and similar events in the past, takes on a new challenge on Sunday 14th December 2008 when it becomes the newest venue to host a round of British Cycling’s National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series. This will also be a ‘first’ in that the course to be ridden has never previously been used for a cyclo-cross event of any type, although the organisers believe that the varied mixture of racing surfaces available at the venue makes it ideal for this form of cycle racing.
Taking its name from the event from which it has been born, the Rutland County CiCLE Classic ‘Cross will be organised by the same group responsible for the popular East Midlands International CiCLE Classic road race held each April between the nearby towns of Oakham and Melton Mowbray.
“ With many observers of the CiCLE Classic telling us that it was a 100 miles cyclo-cross”, joked Race Director Colin Clews, “ we thought we should try and organise the real thing! Seriously though, cyclo-cross is potentially one of the most spectator friendly of all the cycling disciplines, as proven by its popularity in Belgium and the Netherlands, yet it has never really taken off in Britain. Our aim, in a similar way as with the CiCLE Classic, is to promote a different sort of ‘cross race with a high level of presentation and hopefully more attractive to the general public.”
The event is supported by Rutland County Council, who are organising a Christmas fair over the weekend of the race in nearby Oakham town centre. There will be plenty to act as an added draw for anyone, competitors and spectators alike, wanting to spend a weekend in the glorious Rutland countryside and enjoy the views of the race on the very water’s edge. The event is also supported by the CiCLE Classic’s regular sponsors: the East Midlands Development Agency, MARS UK and Rutland Water Cycling. Onimpex will also be providing winners’ jerseys by Bioracer for the Elite Men’s and Women’s races.
An addition to the usual National Trophy programme, there will be an event for local youngsters to try their hand at this winter form of cycle sport. With the great upturn of interest in cycling following the tremendous success of Team GB in Beijing, the organisers believe that it is important that opportunities be provided to enable youngsters to experience competitive cycling close to their homes. With Rutland Water already a honeypot for leisure cyclists throughout the summer months, this new event uses a natural venue for the sport.