Excitment is mounting in Melton for the first edition of a high quality women’s cycling race which gets underway in the town on Sunday morning.
Riders in the 95km Women’s CiCLE Classic start and finish in the town’s Sherrard Street.
The £4,000 prize list has attracted a field of around 120, including some of the nation’s top competitors.
The course includes some of the tougher elements of the established men’s Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic which is held in April.
Race director for both events is Colin Clews, who is excited about the prospects for the new women’s event.
He said: “The field that has been attracted for our first event is a strong one with representation from most of Britain’s foremost women’s professional teams.
“Not the least being Drops Cycling who, having recently contested the Women’s Tour of Britain, have entered their top rider, Alice Barnes, a close second behind elder sister Hannah in the recent British Cycling’s National Road Race Championship.
“With Alice a strong favourite for the first Women’s CiCLE Classic, the contest already looks set to be highly competitive.”
Organisers believe the course for Sunday’s race, which heads off at 12 noon, is the toughest for any women’s event anywhere in the world.
The field will tackle parts of the gruelling Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic route, such as those in Owston village and two passages of the dreaded ‘Somerberg’ off-road section near Somerby.
There is also an ascent of Cold Overton Hill, which will represent the first climb for the ‘Queen of the Hills’ contest, which will also take in Burrough and Cuckoo Hills.
The women pass through the finish line once before taking a 15km circuit through Burton Road, Sawgate Lane, Stapleford Lane and Saxby Road before crossing the line at around 2.35pm.
First prize is £1,000 for the event, which is sponsored by Peter Stanton, Sandicliffe Group and TimeFix.
There will also be a Dare2b Melton CiCLE Challenge for all-comers, which starts and finishes earlier in the day from Melton.