The Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic will go ahead in 2011 after Tesco stepped in with a five-figure sponsorship deal to back Great Britain’s only international one-day road race.
The supermarket giant’s backing ensures the CiCLE Classic, which pits riders against a gruelling, rural 106-mile route, goes ahead as planned on Sunday April 17.
The five figure deal, including a contribution from the Tesco Charity Trust, comes after the race’s future was put in doubt when its former principal sponsor, the East Midlands Development Agency, was disbanded.
“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.
“The race organisation are indebted to emda for their contribution to the development of the event 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.”
Over the past four years, teams from countries as far as Australia, Slovakia and Denmark have contested the race and this year looks set to extend that international profile with ten foreign teams invited to take part.
Number one on the programme from the 32 teams and 180 starters is expected to be last year’s victor, Denmark’s Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand).
Tesco’s corporate affairs manager Tony Fletcher added: “”e 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 co-operation 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.”
The Holiday Inn chain of hotels joins the race as accommodation partner, Belgian beer company Duvel is its new hospitality partner, and Mavic, service providers to the Tour de France, are to supply a neutral wheel service to back-up the motorcycle service provision available to all competitors.