Britain’s top women road racing cyclists will hit the streets of Melton in July after a date was confirmed for the inaugural Women’s CiCLE Classic.
As revealed exclusively by Melton Times Sport last month, a crowdfunding appeal for TV coverage of the men’s international race prompted a backer to come forward to support a separate women’s race.
After further talks with the individual and local partners, race officials this week confirmed the race will take place on Sunday, July 17.
The Women’s CiCLE Classic will start and finish in Melton and cover a shorter race distance than the men’s equivalent, expected to be about 110km.
But the riders will still cover many of the same roads used in the established men’s race, including the testing passages of the Somerberg off-road section and Owston village.
The event will conclude with a 15km finishing circuit in and through Melton which will include the Classic’s infamous Sawgate special sector.
A £1,000 first prize has been set to attract Britain’s top women road racers, but the Classic’s final status is yet to be agreed with British Cycling.
Race director Colin Clews, from Wymondham, said: “We intend to make the Women’s CiCLE Classic a replica in quality of its international big brother in terms of presentation and professionalism.
“Two years ago we aimed to stage a Women’s CiCLE Classic, but at the time the alternative venue and course could not achieve the standard we wished to see.
“During our TV Crowdfunding initiative, we were approached by someone wishing to support the promotion of domestic women’s racing and, in particular, a Women’s CiCLE Classic.
“As a result of positive discussions with the individual sponsor and together with local partners, the project has come together and happily can be raced on the CiCLE Classic’s home territory.”
A noon start from Melton town centre is planned with a maximum field of 120, but the exact course is yet to be finalised.
The event lacks a title sponsor, but organisers hope several supporters of the international men’s race, along with new sponsors, will get on board.
Race organisers are also set to reintroduce mass participation rides - or sportives - for the first time since 2011.
The Dare2b Melton CiCLE Challenge sportives - open to all male and female riders - will be held before the main race and use many of its roads, including Somerberg and Owston, as well as the same town centre finishing point.
They will be organised in partnership with Cycle Classics whose other promotions include the Cheshire Cobbled Classic and Tour of the Black Country which are a match with the CiCLE Classics competitive events.
Entries for both the Women’s CiCLE Classic and Dare2b Melton CiCLE Challenge sportives will open shortly via the British Cycling online entry system.