Britain’s only one-day race on the UCI EuropeTour calendar will be staged again in April.
Billed as “Britain’s Paris Roubaix”, the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic will be held on Sunday April 29. Ian Wilkinson remains the last British winner of the race, with victory in 2009.
Race director, Colin Clews, told RoadcyclingUK.com that four of Britain’s UCI Continental teams had already signed up for the race, including Endura Racing, Rapha-Condor-Sharp, Team UK Youth, and Team Raleigh.
Two further Continental squads – the Algerian-Belgian squad, Geofco-Alger, and the Argentinean team, Start, currently competing in the Tour De San Luis against the likes of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)- have also signed, said Clews.
The 105-mile race from Oakham to Melton takes in rough rural roads in an echo of the challenging conditions of l’enfer du Nord, and last year attracted 10 overseas teams in a race won by the Australian, Zak Dempster.
Today’s announcement follows the signing of a three-year sponsorship deal with corporate training firm, Mountivation, which also supports a junior cycling academy, whose members are expected to ride in a support race on a circuit between Owston and Burrough-on-the-Hill.
Clews said he was delighted by the support given by Mountivation, whose senior staff are all former racing cyclists or managers. Clews described the alliance as a “natural collaboration”.
“The company aims to develop domestic cycling talent. This largely mirrors the aim of the CiCLE Classic in creating an opportunity for such talent to experience international competition on home soil.
“The three year nature of the agreed partnership also provides stability for the race which it has failed to gain previously in its short eight year history,” he said.
The Rutland-Melton classic began life in 2005 as a Premier Calendar event, and in 2007 gained 1.2 status from the UCI world governing body. It remains Britain’s only one-day race with UCI accreditation. The seven-day Tour of Britain, which begins this year on September 9, is the nation’s only other entry on the UCI EuropeTour calendar.
Previous winners of the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic include British road race legend, Malcolm Elliott, and the Danish rider, Michael Berling, who will return to the race this year in the colours of Cycle Premier.
The race will also be backed this year by the Melton Building Society, Dare2b clothing, and by the MARS brand, Dolmio.