Report: CiCLE Classic

Report: CiCLE Classic

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6th East Midlands International CiCLE Classic (UCI 1.2)

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April 25, 2010; Rutland Water-Melton Mowbray | Report & Photos by Larry Hickmott
(our thanks to Welsh NEG pilot Neil McKenzie for helping us with the photos)

Video: Radiowaves S2R follow Rapha Condor Sharp over rough terrain at the CiCLE Classic to produce a video with race footage and interviews: Watch it here >

British Cycling Report

After 100 punishing miles around the lanes and farm tracks of Rutland, Michael Berling of the Danish Glud & Marstrand team emerged from the dust storm to clinch victory in the 2010 East Midlands CiCLE Classic.

The Race.
After a week of hot dry weather, the dirt sections on the course were looking rock hard and very dusty on the Saturday before the race but overnight rain helped dampen down that dust which was no doubt a great benefit for the riders later that day. The large crowd that assembled in Oakham for the start at 11am were spared the rain as the clouds soon parted and the sun shone through on the almost 200 riders who were presented to the crowd team by team by BBC’s voice of cycling, Hugh Porter.

The riders passed through kilometre 0 en masse but as soon as they were safely round the next roundabout, battle commenced as riders from the Flanders team made the first attacks of the day. More and more riders made an effort to get away as the large group took full advantage of the rolling road closure and filled the road. Finally, on the back section of the Rutland Water loop through Edith Weston, a break of five riders escaped, Roger Aitkin, Tom Murray, Dan Davies, Gert Baeyens and Lasse Bochmann.

The second break of the race is joined quickly by another group and around 18 riders lead the race.

This early break though was just a sighter for the main peloton, who brought them back before the end of that opening lap of Rutland Water. There was then a short period of relative quiet, but towards the middle of the second lap, another small group went clear and was joined shortly after by an equally sized group making a leading break of 18 riders.

Exclusive slideshow of how the race unfolded in photos

These included Andrew Griffiths, Michael Berling, Stephen Barrett, Dan Davies, Dan Booth, Yanto Barker, Steve Lampier, Jiri Nesveda, Stephen Gallagher, Dan Fleeman, Kit Gilham, James Moss, Kasper Jorgensen, Sam Redding, Andy Magnier,  Jeroen  Janssen  and Mike Cotty. Despite the size of the group, not normally a good sign for a break, they did manage to open up a useful gap but through Whitwell, an attack by Ian Wilkinson saw the advantage shrink to just 14 seconds or so.

Heads started to turn in the break as they saw the peloton descending on them at speed but just as quick as they had sat up, they started to hammer the pedals around again in anger and raced through Oakham in front of a big crowd there to watch the mid race sprint. The race then calmed down as the break continued to increase their lead whilst behind attacks came and went but no real chase was organised.

That all changed as the field came thundering into the village of Owston from the dirt track at Manor farm. Behind the break, a group of three (Simon Richardson, Will Bjergfelt, Dan Craven) were sprinting up the road towards Middle Lane in Owston with a lone Malcolm Elliott in hot pursuit. They eventually joined the leaders who were also losing riders as the distance, punctures and pace took its toll. Before long the break had almost 3 minutes and it became apparent that they would probably stay clear to the finish. Question was, how many would go the distance?

Caption: Dave Clarke (in blue), who went on to win the award for best East Midlands rider attacked over the Stygate sector and was joined by 2009 winner Ian Wilkinson as they try yet again to bridge to the leaders who were by now down to just over a dozen riders.

There was bad luck for Malcolm Elliott as he punctured on the Somerberg section at 73 miles and after a slow change waiting for service, he knew then his race was over. He wasn’t alone as many others suffered the same fate. On the return pass through Somerberg with only 10 miles to go, the lead group was now down to nine riders as the Danes drove the pace of the race sky high over the toughest sector in the event, splitting the break briefly. The most notable thing about the break was the number of teams who had multiple riders in there; Pendragon and Denmark had two and Sigma three!

Strength in numbers the teams may have had but all that did was neutralise the race for the leaders because despite many attacks by the likes of Simon Richardson, Yanto Barker and Dan Craven, the race stayed together, Even when a break formed with only four miles to go, it still came back together and the next big battle was to be the first into the final corner.

It was here the leaders would swing in the High street of Melton Mowbray where the whole town and then some seemed to have come out to see the finish. After three years of doing the race and second last year, Michael Berling knew exactly what he had to do and the Dane got through that final bend first, put the power down and the rest had no answer to his sprint as he celebrated along with his teammate Kasper Jorgensen whilst still crossing the line. Berling had finally done it and earned his right to stand on the top step of the podium.

The riders in the early break on lap 1 of Rutland Water including the eventual winner.

Post race reactions

Michael Berling:It has taken four years to get this victory. A second and a fourth, it was like a win or nothing this year and I am really glad everything went as it should. I had good legs the whole race and in the finale, I had a really strong teammate who helped me a lot and that turned out to be decisive. I knew I had to be the first into the corner if I wanted to win and I did that.”

“It is a fantastic race. It is so well organised and you only see these races in Belgium and France from the big organisers. It is so fantastically organised and it is a thrill to come back here. I really want to come back next year and wear number 1.

Simon Richardson: "Because there was a headwind for the last 15 or 20 ks,  and that was neutralising any sort of attack. None of us from Sigma are natural sprinters up there and I was really frustrated. I got blocked on the last corner when the barriers came out and I very nearly came down. A podium would have been good..."

Simon on the attack in the final 10 miles.

On crossing to the break, he explained "I am surprised they let me go because it is always really negative when you're stuck in the bunch. Because Endura were the favourites and they were playing up to that, the onus was on them every time and they let us go."

About the conditions, he says "I prefer it when it is a little bit damp than when it is dusty. It was good. And better for being a bit longer as well."

Dan Fleeman:Not being a sprinter, I had to try and get away and there were too many teams in the break with two or three riders and they brought it back every time. I was at the back at the start and could not move up and made a big effort to get to the front. As we when went up a rise, two guys attacked so I followed them and about eight of us got away. We kinda of got caught by an attack from Yanto I think, and the group went away again. I hesitated and thought I’ve missed that, but I jumped across and four or five came with me and I could tell I was going well to close the gap on a flat piece of road.

Dan Fleeman gets in a break in the final section of the race but it didn't stick for him.

It went from 35 seconds to 14 seconds and everyone started to work again and it went back out again. I think four guys got across but I think most of them punctured except for Simon Richardson. I have had really good form this year but have suffered with allergies in March. In training I feel great and in racing can’t do anything but I finally got it diagnosed last Thursday and a few days later I feel awesome again.

Yanto Barker:It was very good by the team today. It was difficult to tell what was going to happen. Normally in a race like this we’d ride off the bigger teams because we’re still a developing team and when the moves started to go on the first lap, it was kind like, we may as well get some guys in the move. When we started to go away and the group was working alright, I thought this is alright. When Simon and Malcolm got across, that was good because it gave the break a bit more impetus because it needed a selection.”

“That worked perfectly and I made a big effort to eat and drink enough today and I’m gutted I didn’t get it. I jumped into the last corner but I went with 500 to go which was a bit too much. It was hard to know what was going to happen in those closing miles because there was two of us, two Danes, three Sigma. Steve (Lampier) did a real good job for the team. He punctured with 50k to go and got back on with a k and so he was going well

The break that started the winning move lead here by Andrew Griffiths.

Dan CravenLovely race! I had two punctures  on the third last section, and I chased for what must have been 10k. I was feeling good so I knew if I didn’t kill myself getting back that I could try something. Then on the last section there was a climb before it and two guys attacked and I went over them to try and pull the break apart but the hill wasn’t long enough.”

“When we turned right after the final dirt section, I knew it was going to be a sprint. Everyone told me the first guy round the corner wins, so I really argy barged my way in there which is unusual for me. I came round the corner in third and just managed to come by Yanto. The legs were quite alright but the race was lovely – I love it. I have never done anything like it and it was really cool. So many spectators along the way, the organisers have done a great job

Malcolm Elliott: Three times out of the last four, I have punctured in the same place. Just coming off the top of highest part of that Somerberg section. I heard this stone clip my wheel and clip the tyre and it blew straight away. I was going down hill and on bumps like that, you can’t ride it far at all. Neutral service came up after some time but as soon as I did it I knew how long it was. I must have lost well over a minute before I got going again and you don’t make that up on your own”.

The last few weeks I have felt shocking, not felt good on a bike at all and I think this race brings the best out in me. I think overall, other than the bad luck, I am pretty happy how I rode today.

Team Endura: "We had a plan and it didn't work out, that's bike racing" - Julian Winn. Planning is nothing without execution and so was the case for a frustrated Endura Racing squad at yesterday's tough CiCLE Classic in Rutland. The team went into yesterday's event with high hopes after a good start to the 2010 season and a great preparation event at the Tro Bro Leon the previous weekend. "We were properly prepared for this one, everyone was fired up," said a philosophical Julian Winn after the race, "but it just wasn't our day". Click here to read more

Last year's winner Ian Wilkinson makes a brave attempt to catch the break which only had one Endura rider in it, James Moss, and he later punctured.

The race leaves a packed Oakham town centre.

A rider from Belgian Flanders team goes on the attack after the race goes through kilometre 0.

Results (Full UCI Result)

1. Berling, Michael Glud & Marstrand (Den)
2. Dan Craven Rapha - Condor - Sharp
3. Barker, Yanto Pendragon- Le Col
4 Kasper Jorgensen, Glud & Marstrand (Den)
5 Kit Gillham Sigma Sport Specialized
6 Stephen Gallagher Sigma Sport Specialized
7 Dan Fleeman Raleigh
8 Simon Richardson Sigma Sport Specialized
9 Steve Lampier Pendragon @30s
10 Alexander Blaine Endura @ 2.28
11 Lasse Bochman, Glud & Marstrand (Den) @2.29
12 Ian WIlkinson, Endura @3.01
13 Malcolm Elliott, Motorpoint/Marshalls Pasta
14 David Clarke, Pendragon
15 Andrew Griffths, London Irish
16 Oodrej Pavek, Czech Rep
17 Chris Newton, Rapha Condor Sharp
18 John Tanner Sports cover
19 Matt Stephens Sigma Sport Specialized
20 Rostislav Kroptky, Czech Republic

Related Links

Preview: 2010 East Midlands CiCLE Classic
Report:   2009 East Midlands CiCLE Classic

Previous Winners

2009: Ian Wilkinson
2008: Ciaran Power
2007: Malcolm Elliott
2006: Robin Sharman
2005: Scott Gamble