2015 Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic: Colin Clews, SportGrub Kuota overview

CiCLE Classic passes along Stygate Lane, near Pickwell EMN-150429-123218002
CiCLE Classic passes along Stygate Lane, near Pickwell EMN-150429-123218002
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CICLE Classic supremo Colin Clews will step up efforts to get next year’s race televised as Sunday’s spectacular received more rave reviews.

Thousands of cycling fans descended on the borough as huge crowds lined the 112-mile route between Oakham and Melton for the 11th edition.

The race attracts the best teams from below the elite UCI level and is popular among professional riders, teams and the national cycling media.

Yet efforts to raise £15,000 priming funding to get the 2015 race broadcast fell short.

Race director Clews said: “Our aim is still to put the race on television. So many people have seen it in the flesh today and enjoyed it, but there are still many more we would like to reach through TV.

“The riders responded to the fact we have a great race here and they put on a tremendous show, fighting all the way.

“The amount of people in Owston was up this year. They were crammed in everywhere, even at smaller junctions where we don’t normally see people. It was a marvellous day.”

England wicket-keeper Matt Prior, founder of one of the UK’s top teams ONE Pro Cycling, was an instant convert.

After following the race for the first time he posted this message on Twitter: “I was blown away by the @CiCLEClassic today. Great to see so much support from fans out on the road. What an awesome race!”

Andy Swain, director of Melton-based professional team SportGrub Kuota, also believes the Classic is a gem which deserves wider coverage and greater mainstream recognition.

The race’s reputation this year saw his team not only face the UK’s top teams, but also the strongest overseas field in the race’s history.

SportGrub Kuota survives on a budget far outside the orbit of such teams, but they rode brilliantly to finish sixth-best team of the 33 which started.

Will Bjergfelt finished a superb eighth, while rising star Ollie Maxwell (18) crossed the line in the same time as the winner in 17th.

Swain said: “It is incredible for us when you look at some of the UK teams such as Madison Genesis. Their best rider was 19th and those teams are on half-a-million pound budgets upwards with full-time staff and riders.

“Wiggins got the backing of Team Sky and British Cycling and we are not just getting among them, we are beating them.”

Swain believed local knowledge, meticulous preparation and character helped maintain their excellent record at their home race.

“Instead of having spare wheels when riders punctured we had spare bikes to save time and that seemed to be a big benefit,” he added.

“While we had four riders finish, some teams were down to two, or even none.

“There is a bit of luck involved, but what we seem to be good at is alleviating the bad luck as much as we can.

“Our preparation around the course is second to none. No-one else is doing that any better than us.”