The future of Britain’s longest-standing UCI-ranked one-day race, the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, is under threat.

Race director Colin Clews today revealed that he has a race against time to raise a minimum of £20,000 to stage next year’s edition, which is scheduled to take place on April 21.

Citing with problems with title sponsor Mountivation, whom Clews believes had signed up to support the race until 2014, he told Cycling Weekly this afternoon that he has two months to find the money to bankroll the 2013 edition.

“In the last eight years, I’ve put in in excess of five figures to keep the race going,” said Clews.

“There comes a time when I can’t afford to do that, especially to the level I need to on this occasion.

“The end of January is my deadline when it comes to next year’s race. There are teams from all over the world interested in riding it, but the longer we leave it, the lesser the chance of them coming over.

“I’ve contacted over 200 business in the recent weeks, and while there is some interest out there, that doesn’t seem to be for 2013.”

Iconic sections such as Somerby Forest make the race what it is

Modelled on Paris-Roubaix, the race was first run in 2005 as a Premier Calendar round. Two years later it gained UCI 1.2 status, making it Britain’s highest-ranked single day event.

This year’s edition, which was won by Endura’s Alex Blain, was run in cold and wet conditions; so much so that CW declared it tougher than this year’s Roubaix.

Clews revealed that he was also in negotiations to modify the parcours, which would see riders pass through the finish in Melton Mowbray and completing one lap of a circuit, as well as adding additional sections earlier in the race.

* Anyone interested in helping support the retention of the CiCLE Classic, in any way, is asked to contact Clews on 07979 856262.

See this Thursday’s Cycling Weekly for an in-depth look at the future of the Premier Calendar.

  • Mark Jones

    The highlights for Prems are on YouTube so I don’t see why they can’t make an hour long highlights show for ITV4. There would be familiar faces from the Tour Series and ToB, so okay the audience wouldn’t be as high as those watching Wiggo cycling backwards but they’d still be good figures and enough to bring more sponsors in. Keep hearing of closed road sportives so why not add a pro race beforehand. Pity British Cycling is so backwards thinking when it comes to cycling in Britain. And I agree with WhiteBikeMan that BC should have the organisers to organise these events.

  • WhiteBikeMan

    Why isn’t there a dedicated team of organisers from British Cycling with funding in place organising these events. Instead it relies on a fantastic core of voluntary organisers who have to gather money from a dwindling list of sponsors

  • Ken Evans

    Its all about TV coverage !
    (or lack of it)

  • Sam1

    Agree Mark – sorry, my comment was a bit facetious…

    Sweetspot seems to be making a success of the TS and ToB…I can imagine that the crit format makes it an easier sell for the 1 hour highlights program covering each race, and the ToB gets the huge impetus of Team Sky and their riders who are becoming very well known outside of the traditional cycling fan community

  • Mark Jones

    I agree Sam and I feel it’s good to see our domestic teams racing in mainland Europe and other continents, it would be beneficial if they had a few UCI races over here where they could have home advantage. I remember watching the Kellogg’s in the early 90s going over Downham Moor with maybe 4-5 fans (3 of which were us) and compare that to watching on Caerphilly Mountain this year and the TV scenes from the Tour of Britain and the Olympics not to mention the TV viewing figures for the ToB. There’s never been a better time but British Cycling don’t have the ambition to move it forward.

  • Sam1

    Mark, at this rate the future stars will be doing all their racing abroad, simple as that.

    British Cycling urgently need to make a statement on what they’re doing to help secure the future of road racing in Britain.

  • Mark Jones

    Another nail in the coffin of British Cycling. I am losing all interest in this sad sorry sport and cannot see any road racing in this country in a few years time. We had our World Champion and our Tour winner and it looks like a one-off as where are the future stars going to come from?