While the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic tests the youngest and fittest legs to their limit, veteran Colin Sturgess is set to take on the challenge at the age of 51.
The former world pursuit and British road race champion will line up with the East Midlands team in next month’s race looking to give younger riders a run for their money.
Sturgess endeared himself to local cycling fans as Metaltek’s directeur sportif when he helped guide the Melton-based semi-professional team to victory in the 2017 edition through Dan Fleeman.
After Metaltek owner Andy Swain persuaded Sturgess to return to the sport in a managerial capacity, he then helped Connor Swift to victory on behalf of Madison–Genesis at the 2018 National Road Race Championships.
He will be joined in the Pearce Jewellers-RDA sponsored East Midlands team by guest rider Russell Downing, another former British road champion and Team Sky, as well as local riders Rob Orr and Tom Dussek.
Race director Colin Clews, from Wymondham, said: “Colin has shown throughout his cycling career total commitment to whatever he embarks upon.
“If Colin is in a race, then he will be there to contribute, not just to watch others.
“Age is no barrier to commitment, as Malcolm Elliott proved in winning the CiCLE Classic in 2007 at the age of 47.
“No-one will expect Colin to do so at his first attempt at the race, but it will certainly not stop him trying.”
With the 15th edition of the Classic fast approaching on Sunday, April 28, the final line-up of teams has also been announced.
Organisers have tried to balance the number of elite teams with as many smaller UK teams as possible.
The move is in keeping with the race’s original ethos to give them the unique experience of competing on home roads against foreign opposition.
All of the six UK-registered UCI Continental teams will be on the start line, along with 10 overseas-based teams who will field full six-man squads in Britain’s first international race of the year.
A smattering of Britain’s elite national teams complete the 20 six-man teams accepted, with the rest of the field made up of four-man teams.
While the race has consistently had more than entries than places, this year’s task was made even tougher by new UCI rules on race sizes.
Race limits were reduced from 200 riders to 176 by the cycling’s world governing body, but those who missed out on Rutland-Melton have been guaranteed places in the inaugural Bourne CiCLE Classic in September.
“The choice of teams was more difficult than ever this year, and regret is expressed for any teams disappointed by their non-selection,” Clews added.
Team line up –
Six-man squads: Wiggins-Le Col (GBR) UCI Continental; Rally-UHC (USA) UCI Pro Continental; Dovy-Keukens (BEL) UCI Continental; Madison-Genesis (GBR) UCI Continental; Zico- Guerciotti (ESP) UCI Continental; Monkey Town (NED) UCI Continental; Swift Carbon (GBR) UCI Continental; Vitus-p.b. Brother (GBR) UCI Continental; SVL Sauerland (GER) UCI Continental; Canyon-DHB p.b. Bloor Homes (GBR) UCI Continental; Beat ProCycling (NED) UCI Continental; Ribble Pro Cycling (GBR) UCI Continental; Zappi-Holdsworth (GBR) Elite Club; WPG Amsterdam (NED) Elite Club; St Piran (GBR) Elite Club; Bioracer-FR-DHL (IRL) Elite Club; Latvian National Team (LAT); Spirit-Tifosi (GBR) Elite Club; CC Sheffield (GBR) Elite Club; GSC Blagnac V 31 (FRA) Elite Club.
Four-man wildcard squads: Taap–Cervelo (GBR) UK Club; Leisure Lakes Bikes (GBR) UK Club
Welsh National Academy (GBR) UK Regional Active Edge RT (GBR); Holohan Coaching RT (GBR); DAP Cycling (GBR); Bikestrong KTM (GBR); OVB (GBR); Richardsons-Trek (GBR); Team LDN (GBR); East Midlands Regional Team (GBR); Regional ProVision RT (GBR); Flamme Rouge CT (GBR); Crimson Performance Marketing RT; Team PB Performance (GBR).