Britain?s largest one-day race, the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic returns on Sunday April 26, and has already attracted considerable European interest.
CiCLE is Britain?s own classic, with narrow and treacherous farm tracks more reminiscent of those to be found in the Spring Classics in northern France and Belgium. It will see 200 riders navigate beautiful East Midlands roads, villages and challenging rough terrain following the ceremonial start in Oakham. The confirmed route for 2009 will see the riders complete almost 100 miles, building to an exciting finish in Melton.
Regulars, such as Denmark?s Glud & Marstrand-Horsens; Slovakia?s Dukla-Trenchin-Merida; and The Netherlands' Ruiter-Dekappellan squads will return to the event, making it a highlight of their racing calendar. New teams, such as the Czech Republic?s top team SC Sparta-Praha, and Belgian-based Irish squad AN Post-Sean Kelly, have also confirmed their interest.
The AN Post team boasts 2007 Irish Road Race Champion David McLoughlin, who was a member of the former Pezula squad that dominated the CiCLE Classic in 2008.
Jan Bos of the Dutch based Ruiter-Dekappellan squad returns intent on taking the top place on the podium this time after losing out to Kieran Power following a long joint breakaway ride.
Incentives are high this year, with a special Maestro UK sponsored ?bonus award? on offer to the winner.
Race Director Colin Clews explained; ?Mike Perry of the Sports Beans Wilier squad is a big supporter of the event and offered an additional cash sponsorship to any rider winning the 2009 event spectacularly. £300 is on offer to any rider who can cross the finish line before any other riders enters the 180 meter-long finish straight.
?We?re aiming for the CiCLE Classic to be won in the classic style of great champions, and if the money isn?t won this year we?ll keep rolling it on and adding to the total each year.?
CiCLE will feature a number of new sponsors this year. Continental Tyres supply a static pit area on each exit of the infamous ?Somerberg? special sectors.
An East Midlands regional squad made up of promising youngsters, sponsored by one of the race?s principle sponsors, the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) will also take part in the race.
?This is very important by both myself and EMDA,? explained Clews. ?We want the race to present the opportunity for talented youngsters to take on foreign road racing opposition on their home soil especially as 2012 approaches.?
A further development this year is the staging of the ?Discover Rutland CiCLE Tour? cyclo-sportive event on the Saturday 25th April. This event, organised by Rutland County Council in association with the CiCLE Classic organisers will offer 100, and 50 miles rides, as well as a 30km fun ride for those wanting to make a weekend of their visit to Rutland.
Supporting attractions will take place in both Oakham alongside the race start, and at the Melton Mowbray finish. Entries are also now open for the CiCLE Challenge Sportif on Sunday July 12.
See www.cicleclassic.co.uk for more information.
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