Stapleford Park will feature for the first time in this year’s Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic as part of a revamped and extended route.
Riders will take on two passages of a 2.2km off-road sector within its grounds as an additional 10km of hard terrain are added to the notoriously tough race.
Stapleford has twice hosted a European Senior Tour golf tournament, but this will be the first time a cycle race has passed through the estate.
A new climb and rough road section, just outside Oakham, has also been added for the 13th edition of the race.
Eight overseas-based international teams have already registered with a field of almost 200 riders expected to take on the 189km course on Sunday, April 23.
“We are always looking at ways to develop the race”, said race director Colin Clews. “We are extremely grateful to the Gretton Estate and the management of Stapleford Park Hotel for allowing us to include the spectacular grounds of Stapleford Park and hotel, and taking in the landscape created by Capability Brown.”
The race has also chosen the Mount Group Riding for the Disabled (RDA), based at Somerby Equestrian Centre, as its adopted local charity for 2017.
The collaboration is designed to raise awareness of the group’s work and provide opportunities for them to raise much-needed funds to survive and expand.
“The work of the Mount Group in providing opportunities for less able children and adults to experience the enjoyment of horse riding is tremendously rewarding, deserving widespread recognition and support,” said Clews.
“That they are based in Somerby, in the heart of our CiCLE Classic courses, makes them an ideal candidate for us to adopt as our chosen charity, ”Over the 13 years the races have operated we have greatly appreciated the co-operation of the local stables and equestrian community whose usual roads and tracks we have the privilege of using on race days.
“By supporting the Mount Group RDA in this way we hope we are giving back to a community who have enabled the race’s success.
“We hope we can also help educate the wider cycling community to respect horse riders when encountering them on their regular rides.”
The associated Rutland CiCLE Tour sportif events will be held on Saturday, April 22, starting and finishing at the Normanton base of race sponsors Giant Store. Organisers hope to draw more than 1,500 cyclists to the area.
The second edition of the Women’s professional CiCLE Classic will be held on Sunday, June 4 alongside the fourth Junior Men’s CiCLE Classic. Both events will start and finish in Melton town centre.
Giant (Rutland Water) and Schwalbe UK remain as title sponsors of the International CiCLE Classic, with support from Dare2b, supported by Melton BID, and Melton Building Society.