CiCLE Classic race organiser Colin Clews believes the influx of European teams to this weekend’s Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic (April 17) could make the event the best yet.
Ten foreign teams will race the likes of Motorpoint, Rapha-Condor-Sharp and Sigma Sport-Specialized at the popular event, Britain’s only UCI-ranked one-day race.
However, with demand for entries so high, Clews has had to turn away 40 riders, including two full teams.
“The interest has been exceptional once again, with more and more foreign teams wanting to take part, which can only add to the quality of racing on show,” he told Cycling Weekly
“While to some extent this is due to a decrease in the number of foreign events on the calendar, it also proves that the race has already gained a good reputation both at home and abroad.”
Last year’s winner Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand) will be riding, and the Dane has excelled here in the past, taking second place twelve months before he took the honours in a thrilling edition last April.
Endura’s Ian Wilkinson pipped Berling in 2009, but won’t be racing after breaking a collarbone during the recent Tour of Normandy.
Magnus Backstedt (Team UK Youth) will look to take his first win of the season, while Sigma Sport-Specialized will have a team competing here as well as at the Tro-Bro Leon in France.
Former Tour de France stage winner Backstedt is looking forward to riding the Classic for the second time.
Speaking to CW, he said: “I wasn’t in great shape when I first rode it in 2009, but every time I’m on the bike now I feel good.
“It’s a very tough race, but it’s difficult to define. Yes, it has the gravel sections, but I think the distance and the hills were what made the selection two years ago.”
Backstedt continued: “I really like the race, and while I’d prefer it to have a few more gravel sections and be a bit flatter, I’m climbing better than I have been for a long time.
“I’m hoping that big win comes on Sunday, but we just need to make sure we keep an eye on everyone else and have a back-up plan in case there’s a crash or a puncture.”
As reported previously by CW, the race will not receive any television coverage this year, following a disagreement between Clews and British Cycling.
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2011: The route
The distance between Oakham and the finish in Melton Mowbray is around ten miles, so fans can easily take in a large dose of racing.
Many spectators choose to watch in either Owston Village or Burrough on the Hill; the race passes through these villages six and four times respectively.
The infamous Somerberg section is passed twice, and although fans who stay there for both passages will struggle to make it to the finish in time, Clews says the section is arguably the worst stretch of road used in any British race.
168.1km / 105.1 miles
Start Market Square, Oakham, 11am
Sector 11 Stygate (500m) * KM63.8 (39.9m)
Sector 10 Newbold (1,300m) * KM70.5 (44.1m)
Sector 9 Owston Manor (800m) *** KM80.4 (50.2m)
Sector 8 Stygate (500m) * KM84 (52.5m)
Sector 7 Owston Manor (800m) *** KM102.7 (64.2m)
Sector 6 Somerberg (1,800m) **** KM117 (73.2m)
Sector 5 Newbold (1,380m) * KM120.1 (75.1m)
Sector 4 Newbold (1,380m) * KM129.9 (81.2m)
Sector 3 Somerberg (1,800m) **** KM140.5 (87.8m)
Sector 2 Stygate (500m) * KM146.5 (91.6m)
Sector 1 Sawgate Lane (700m) *** KM165 (103.1m)
Finish Sherrard Street, Melton Mowbray, approx 3.10pm
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2011: The weather
Three day forecast
Friday April 15 – Cloudy, 13°C
Saturday April 16- Sunny spells, 15°C
Sunday April 17 – Sunny spells, 16°C
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2011: Teams
Rapha – Condor – Sharp
Sigma Sport – Specialized
Team Corley Cycles
Twenty3C – Orbea
Team UK Youth
East Midlands Region
Pasta Montegrappa- Zheroquadro
Sportscover – BBM
Hargroves Cycles – Trant
Renault Rotor Colbert RT
GWR Team -Swindon Cycles
Hand in Hand Espoirs (Baal) (Belgium)
Ireland National Team (Ireland)
Team Sport Active (Ireland)
Glud & Marstrand (Denmark)
KTM – Murcia (Spain)
AC Sparta Praha (Czech Republic)
Eseg Douai (France)
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2011: Recent winners
2010 Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand)
2009 Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut)
2008 Ciaran Power (Pezula)
2007 Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello RT)
2006 Robin Sharman (Recycling.co.uk)
2005 Scott Gamble (BC East Midlands Division)
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic 2011: Last year’s top ten
1. Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand) in 4-14-19
2. Dan Craven (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) at st
3. Yanto Barker (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago)
4. Kasper Jorgensen (Glud & Marstrand)
5. Kit Gilham (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
6. Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
7. Daniel Fleeman (Raleigh)
8. Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
9. Steve Lampier (Pendragon) at 30secs
10. Alexandre Blain (Endura) at 2-28