2nd Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic
“Leicester Mercury’s Sports Event of the Year 2005”
A veritable Who’s Who of British cycle racing is how the entry for the 2nd Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic has been described, and that is about right, as well as in addition having competitors from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany and Ireland.
The race which just 12 months ago set the imagination of cyclists, and cycling enthusiasts throughout Britain alight looks set to once again provide an extraordinary race.
“This is the race everyone of Britain’s top cyclists wants to win” said Race Director Colin Clews,” and last years race proved that reputations count for nothing on a course which is down to everyman for himself”.
Last year the race had just over 100 riders taking the start, whilst this year the race has a full field of 140, with 10 reserves, and another 43 riders wishing to take part.
What makes the CiCLE Classic so unique and special is that it is based on the type of course and racing found in Belgium and Holland; narrow rough roads; one short hill after another; and held in front of the general public to enable the feats of the cyclists to be properly appreciated.
With Britain’s Olympic and World championship medallists aplenty, current Commonwealth Games champions, and British National champions from all the main cycling disciplines, the race will be a very open affair. Last weekend the FRF Couriers \ Carravello team newly arrived from Australia nevertheless managed to place four riders in the top 20 of the Lincoln Grand Prix held in very inhospitable conditions, and look likely to push their British hosts hard following a reconnaissance of the demanding CiCLE Classic course earlier his week. Leading that squad will be Peter McDonald (No.7) from the Team FRF\Carravello squad, a winner just a few weeks ago of the Tour of New Caledonia. Australia is not the only foreign country to be represented however, as there are also a smattering of New Zealand, United States, Holland and German riders who are no strangers to the top flight of world cycle racing.
But equally neither are the British entrants headed by former World Points and Team Pursuit Champion Chris Newton (No.1), former double world Champion Rob Hayles (No.17) the Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish (No.83) and the ageless Malcolm Elliott (No.20), who only a few years ago was racing with and beating the likes of Lance Armstrong in races such as the Tour of Spain in which he won the points competition. Both Newton and Elliott head strong teams, which in themselves have riders capable of taking the honours when the race finishes in Sherrard Steet around 3.00 pm on Sunday afternoon. All these riders were upstaged at Lincoln however, by the brightest Bristish prospect this year in the form of Kristian House, a teamate of Newton’s in the strong Recycling.com line-up.
But predicting a winner is pointless in a race such as the CiCLE Classic with so many more talented riders in the field including multi off road National title holder Nick Craig (No.84), current National Champion Ian Legg (No.50), and former British road race champions John Tanner (No.75) and Matt Stephens (No.73). Awarded the Most Combative Rider in last years race, eventually finishing third, Stephens comes with an unenviable reputation as a ‘never say die’ type of rider.
This all adds up to a tremendous race with relative outsiders such as local favourite James Cambridge (No.46) from Oakham looking to improve upon his brilliant 4th place last year. Already a double winner this year, Cambridge, and many of the others in the field will be looking to upset the form book and outsmart the big teams in a race where reputations are both won; and lost! Over £2500 in prizes await the winners including integral competitions such as the Nottingham East Midlands Airpoort ‘High Flyer’ King of the Hills competition, and the Melton Building Society Most Combative Rider awards.
There are plenty of opportunities to see the race in the heart of the beautiful Rutland and Leicestershire countryside before the finish in Melton, but for the safety of the competitors and others the roads used will be closed as the race passes.
Whilst those who prefer to see the race in a more sedate setting then there will be plenty of activities around both the start line in Oakham and the finish line in Melton.
Wherever you decide to watch the race, on behalf of the organisation I hope that you will enjoy the spectacular sight that cycle racing at this level offers and conveys.
Too few opportunities exist for British competitors to savour this type of racing on British roads, and that it is happening in Rutland and Melton is something that the area should all be proud of. Perhaps this years CiCLE Classic will see the birth of a new British champion who in less than six years will be making the nation proud by winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics?
Melton Borough Council
Rutland County Council
Oakham Town Council
Nottingham East Midlands Airport
Meltton Building society
Manor Farm Feeds
Sports & Health
More at the www.cicleclassic.co.uk website