With 22 nations represented in the 9th edition of the Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic on Sunday 21 April the 2013 edition of the race looks to be the most challenging race ever and the hardest from which to predict a winner.
Whilst previous editions have seen riders of the calibre of Mark Cavendish (2007) pitting themselves not only against the other 160 plus competitors but also the challenging road conditions and terrain that the race provides, this year's event is notable by its quality of field and breadth of internationalism. After a potential participation by a team from Paraguay last year, who are this year confident of taking part, this years race sees riders from Russia, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Estonia, and the Ukraine joining the traditional competition from western European countries such as Spain, Belgium, and Austria as well as the large numbers of Australasian riders now forming members of our own top British squads.
With 34 teams confirmed for 2013, this year under new joint sponsorship from the Giant Store (Rutland Water) and Schwalbe Tyres (UK) the race looks wide open, and after the floods and freak weather conditions of last years event, everyone is more than ever intent on the race making an unforgettable spectacle and amends for any poor performances in 2012.
Heading the field and wearing number 1 as last years winner, Alexander Blain of France returns to the CiCLE Classic but this time with Team Raleigh; he's already taken part in races similar to the Classic this year. But with Olympic Team Pursuit Gold medallist Ed Clancy leading the Rapha –Condor- Sharp squad which also boasts last years second placed James McCallum, the battle lines are already drawn.
But the main challenge could well come from teams such as the Polish Wibatech team, the Rietumu – Delfin registered team and the newly created Synergy – Baku Project team from Azerbaijan. All have riders in their teams who have represented their countries in recent Olympic Games and World Championships and each have proved their worth with wins in races such as the Tour of Taiwan and Thailand already this year. Never to be discarded are the Spanish team of Model-Murcia who have proved their aggressive style of riding over pervious recent editions of the Classic.
All of Britain’s top domestic teams are represented with former Paris-Roubaix and Tour de France stage winner Magnus Backstedt leading the relatively local MG-Maxifuel team this year, although if you are looking for a local team to cheer then look no further than Melton’s own Metaltek-Knights of Old Racing Team squad.
Special local interest is also present in the form of the East Midlands regional team which will have amongst its roster Paul Cox from Melton and Ryan Henry from Oakham.
But more likely the British challenge will come from likes of Node4-Giordana or the newly formed Madison – Genesis managed by former podium placed rider in Paris –Roubaix, and former World Junior cyclo-cross champion Roger Hammond. With a team spearheaded by experienced Dean Downing, and riders of the calibre of Ian Bibby and former World Junior Pursuit Champion Andrew Tennant, they could be the team to watch in a race where Hammond’s advice after many years of Belgian and continental racing experience could prove valuable to them.
As always the race commences at 11.00 and follows two laps of the mildly undulating and picturesque Rutland Water roads, this time each lap being interspersed with a detour at Normanton car park to pass directly by the premises of race sponsor the Giant Store, before retracing through Oakham where a hotspot sprint sponsored by Oakham Wines will be contested. The comes the first real climb of the race with the first ‘King of the Bergs’ point at Cold Overton as an entrée to where the real racing gets underway.
Once into Owston for the first time the race will receive its usual reception from what is expected to be a massive crowd gathered there to enjoy the racing under the supervision of the local villagers who have taken the race to their hearts and welcome the race each year with open arms. The race then moves towards Burrough on the Hill for its four passages of that village and Grant’s Freehouse which marks the highest point on the course. It’s then back to Owston before the first passage of the ‘Somerberg’, a two kilometre long stretch of unmade road which has seen many ambitions lost with punctures and other mechanical problems over the years. This year however, Schwalbe will be sponsoring a neutral pit area at either end of this section offering wheels to those who would otherwise be left stranded by their own team support cars being held back behind lagging riders.
After several more laps of Owston and Burrough, each lap taking an increasing toll on many of the competitors, the route then retraces ‘Somerberg’ before heading to Whissendine, and then on to its final special sector at ‘Sawgate’ at the top of Burton Road on the very outskirts of Melton. But this year instead of the then breakneck dive towards the finish line in Sherrard Street , the riders will face firstly a massive crowd who are expected to have been enjoying the local Arts Festival and the St Georges Day parades in the town centre before heading off towards Stapleford and the newly introduced finishing circuit of 15 kilometres. Just 20 or more minutes after the first passage the race returns to Sherrard Street for the finish proper and the completion of 183 kilometres (114 miles ) of the toughest racing likely to be experienced in Britain this year.
“ Last year the CiCLE Classic came of age, when the weather conditions produced the hardest imaginable racing experience that any rider is ever likely to face, and it built on the reputation that the race had already gained over its eight years of existence,” said Race Director Colin Clews. “ Next year we reach ten years and we intend that that edition will be extra special and break even more new ground with a change in route and addional special sectors. This years race should provide an excellent starting point for that to take place”.
Where to see the race
In 2013 the opportunities to view the race many times has been increased significantly. For the enthusiastic spectator it is possible to see the race in over 10 places during its circuitous route between Oakham and Melton.
And with the new sponsorship provided by the Giant Store Rutland Water at Normanton and the introduction of a full finishing circuit through Melton Town centre exciting new places are available to spectators.
- The START in Oakham Town Centre
- Normanton car park of Rutland Water where the race will detour in each lap to pass directly by the premises of its sponsor , the Giant Store Rutland Water.
- At the Stamford Road bypass island just outside Oakham as the race completes its first lap of Rutland Water.
- In Oakham Town Centre to see the Oakham Wines sprint be contested.
- The top of Cold Overton hill for the first King of the Hills climb.
- In Somerby for the first passage of the race there.Owston or Burrough on the Hill for the races many passages through those villages.or back to Cold Overton Hill for the fourth King of the Hills climb, or onto ‘Somerberg’ (Bruces Lane) for the ultimate CiCLE Classic experience .
- Leesthorpe Crossroads or Whissendine village to see the first passage of the race through the village and final Hot Spot sprint of the day.
- At the exit from the final rough sector of the race at Sawgate Lane just on the edge of Melton.
- In Melton town centre where following the local annual St Georges day parade the race will pass through the town before commencing its finishing circuit via Stapleford and Burton Lazers.
- Stapleford Hotel and leisure centre main entrance and exit where the race passes on its new finishing circuit.
- At the FINISH in Sherrard Street.
Please allow plenty of time to get from one point to another and be prepared to encounter the road closures which will apply as soon as the race approaches and will apply until the last of the ‘effective’ race passes.
Also please remember to park your cars well off the road especially if parking on any of the many narrow roads that the race uses particularly around Owston and Burrough on the Hill.
If viewing at Owston please use the identified car parks and always obey any instructions from race marshals.
Have a great viewing day!