Metaltek Kuota team owner Andy Swain has no idea how he will top the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic after a race victory which meant ‘everything’.
Swain, who set up the semi-professional team in Melton eight years ago, is intrinsically linked with the Classic.
Having grown up on Burton Road and lived in Somerby, both on the race’s route, it is in his blood.
And this came out in emotional scenes at the finish when Swain hugged his good friend and team captain Fleeman shortly after he crossed the line.
“Me and Dan can get a bit emotional,” he said. “We have been on the same journey.
“We have had good days and bad days and I don’t think we are going to get a better day than this.
“It means everything to me. There isn’t a race on the calendar that means more. It is a huge race.
“Without the belief it wouldn’t have been achieved. There is no luck involved at all; it has been a lot of hard work and military-style planning by a lot of people.
“Hopefully now we can attract some more sponsorship and we go again.”
Swain and his directeur sportif Colin Sturgess, the former world pursuit champion, were helped by a small army of helpers, strategically positioned to be in the right place at the right time around the snaking 189km route.
And even when they were caught wrong-footed by the early eight-man break, Metaltek’s team ethic and belief in the strategy remained strong.
“We missed the early move which put us on the back foot a little bit,” he added.
“But we have ridden it enough times to know a two-minute gap isn’t that much in the later stages of the race when the sectors and tiredness come into play.
“The race changed when Kristian House punctured out of the break and then ONE Pro started chasing and reduced the gap and we were sitting pretty.
“Coming into the finale, we still had five riders in the 30-man lead group which was phenomenal; we had done everything that we had to do.
“We had so many options and we’ve never had that luxury before.”
Swain admits his intimate knowledge of the local roads proved key at a pivotal moment.
“There is a tiny climb on the Stapleford road which always hurts me when I ride it and I knew that could be key.
“We talked about it at the team meeting the night before and that was the point where Dan went.
“The difference this year is that if Dan had gambled in the past he would have rolled in 37th, but with us being so strong now he could afford to gamble because the others would’ve been there.”
Suddenly pre-race confidence was turning into actual race reality.
“I was confident in the run-up to it,” Swain said.
“Before the start I was quietly telling a couple of close friends this is our day and they know I don’t say these kind of things flippantly.
“My best mate Martyn Seddon was doing the service on Sawgate and when the race left him he rode the back road to watch them come through with a kilometre to go.
“Then he rang me and said ‘There are two away and one is Dan, get ready’. Then I started to get a bit excited.”