Preview: 2024  8th ANEXO CAMS Women’s CiCLE Classic

Preview: 2024 8th ANEXO CAMS Women’s CiCLE Classic

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The 2024 Women's National Road Series is set to kick off this Sunday 17 March, with the eagerly anticipated 8th ANEXO CAMS Women’s CiCLE Classic, marking the start of one of the most exciting events in the UK's domestic road racing scene.

The CiCLE Classic unfolds in the scenic yet demanding landscapes of Rutland and East Leicestershire. This event stands out for its exceptional course, which challenges participants with a blend of off-road sections, strenuous ascents, and intricate pathways. Anticipated rain prior to race day promises to enhance the difficulty of the farm tracks, setting the stage for this year's edition to embody the essence of a classic spring race.

With 130 starters, an impressive line-up is expected at the start line including reigning National Road Series champion Monica Greenwood of Team Coop-Repsol, last year’s CiCLE Classic victor Jess Finney of Doltcini O’Shea, and talented international riders such Marjolein Van’t Geloof (HESS Cycling Team). This makes the upcoming CiCLE Classic one of the most fiercely competitive editions to date.

Jessica Finney 2023 finish

National Road Series

The National Road Series represents the pinnacle of road racing in the UK. This year's series includes six rounds for women and five for the open category, as well as a ‘yet-to-be-confirmed’ stage race at the end of September. The series draws the country's leading domestic teams, encompassing British UCI Continental teams and Elite Development Teams, showcasing the top British cycling talent in gruelling, spirited competition.

The series features individual and team competitions and includes a dedicated under-23 contest with its own prize pool. The ultimate champions in each category will be crowned following the series' final round.

The course

The race, starting and finishing in Melton Mowbray, spans 105km across three distinct parts, featuring a twisting route that takes in seven off-road sectors, including Sawgate Lane, Somerberg, Manor Farm, and Newbold Manor, as well as the three categorised climbs of the day - Burrough Berg, Cold Overton Berg, and Cuckooberg.

Starting on wide roads, the course challenges riders with sharp inclines and technical corners. The race intensifies in its second phase with the difficult Somerberg sector, which is tackled twice (once in reverse), before concluding with a lap that includes Sawgate Lane, leading back to Melton Mowbray.

The victor not only secures the prestigious Dame Laura Kenny Trophy but also a £1000 prize donated by the Olympic legend herself.

The course

Riders to watch

The challenging off-road terrain makes the CiCLE Classic one of the most unpredictable races on the British calendar. And as the first national road race of the season, rider form is difficult to gauge. The entry list, featuring over 130 competitors, includes a wealth of notable contenders.

Last year’s champion Jessica Finney (Doltcini-O’Shea) aims to make history as the first to clinch victory twice. Finney secured her win against Monica Greenwood, the eventual National Road Series champion, with a decisive sprint from distance. Greenwood, now of Team Coop-Repsol, is back on the start list too, looking to go one better. Several strong teams will be looking to secure a win of their own. The newly merged DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK has options, including local rider Sian Botteley who knows these roads intimately and finished fifth last year.

The HESS Cycling Team, debuting as a British UCI Continental team in 2024, boasts a formidable international roster as well as brilliant British talent, including former runner-up in the National Road Series, Alice McWilliam.

Pro-Noctis – 200o Coffee – Hargreaves Contracting Ltd, recognised for their cohesive teamwork, combines the expertise of seasoned racers like Jo Tindley with emerging stars such as Lowri Richards. The Alba Road Development Team, another new entry to the UCI Continental tier, aims to leave their mark with a strong team including ex-DAS-Handsling riders Beth Morrow and Emma Matthews.

Jo Tindley

Junior teams shouldn't be overlooked either. Shibden Apex Race Team impressed last season, and both Liv Cycling Club-Halo Films and Tofauti Everyone Active boast highly talented young riders eager for standout performances.

Individual competitors also pose significant threats, including Ellen McDermott (Keukens Redant Cycling Team) second-place finisher in 2021, El King (Lifeplus-Wahoo), who finished third in 2022, and Lucy Gadd (Le Col RT), a Paris-Roubaix Femmes participant aiming for a standout year after a rollercoaster 2023 on the UCI Continental circuit.

In a race where the outcome is anything but predictable, the victor will undoubtedly be deserving of their triumph in what promises to be another riveting CiCLE Classic.

The first round of the Junior Open National Road Series also takes place this weekend on the same course at the CiCLE Classic, with Wales Racing Academy's Sam Fisher spearheading the 127 starters with his recent success at the British National Track Championships, where he claimed two gold medals.

Stay updated with the race through British Cycling's social media platforms and for an extensive preview, visit The British Continental.

Start list