There will be a homecoming for race director Colin Clews as the 2019 Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic widens its web for 2019.
The 15th edition of Britain’s longest-running international single-day cycle road race takes to the roads of Rutland and East Leicestershire on Sunday, April 28, and this year calls at Clews’ home village of Wymondham for the first time.
The two high-speed laps of Rutland Water have been replaced by a winding route through Burley-on-the-Hill, Ashwell and Teigh to Wymondham following the start in Oakham town centre.
Spectators will be treated to four laps of varying length around Wymondham, including two ascents of Butt Lane, two sprints outside the village’s iconic windmill, and five passages in all.
Riders will then retrace the race’s outward route to pass through Oakham to continue its traditional route via Owston and the notorious special sectors, including
Somerberg, StaplePark and Sawgate on its way to the finish in Melton town centre.
“For several years it has been the wish to open up new spectator viewing points on the course, and with Wymondham being my own village and enthusiasm from a wide swathe of the residents to see the race, it presented itself as a perfect opportunity in our 15th edition to bring the ideas together,” said Clews.
“The plan is to complete two laps of 4.8km and then two further laps of 6.5km through and around the village. It will add a completely new and exciting dimension to the early stages of the race, as well as an amazing spectacle for those choosing to watch the race in Wymondham before moving on to the longer established viewing locations.”
The changes will take the ever-popular race, billed as Britain’s version of the Belgian Spring Classics, towards the 200km maximum distance for a race of its status.
At least two new hot spot sprints prizes will be up for grabs in the new section of the course, with Wymondham Windmill businesses offering awards to the first rider past their entrance on each ascent of the tough Butt Lane climb.
The climb is already well known to the many local cyclists who use the café as their regular coffee stop.
The event will again retain as its main sponsors, the Giant Store (Rutland Water) and Schwalbe UK, supported by Dare2b sports clothing and Duvel Belgian beer, but has also attracted new secondary sponsors.
After a year as sponsor of the race’s timing car, Pearce’s Jewellers of Oakham and Melton will also sponsor the East Midlands team of riders.
Their name will be added to the jerseys the five-man team will wear alongside the race’s chosen charity, Somerby-based Mount Group RDA.
Melton’s semi-professional Metaltek team withdrew from the sport the season after clinching their unforgettable victory in 2-017 through Dan Fleeman.
But the town-based machine engineering company, Metaltek CNC, will this year join the race as sponsor of the primary off-road sections – Somerberg, StaplePark and Sawgate.
After 14 years support of the race’s official vehicles, Tim Norton (Ford) Motors of Oakham are also joined by Ford UK as they race looks to meet increased requirements from international cycling body the UCI for vehicles used in race convoys.
The popularity of the race remains undimmed with 10 overseas teams already having submitted entries together with more than 20 British squads, with many more expected.
The final decision on which teams will race the 2019 edition will be made by the end of February as organisers reduce entries down to the new universal maximum limit of 176 riders.
The associated Rutland CiCLE Tour, which takes place on Saturday, April 27, starting and finishing from the premises of Giant (Rutland Water) will also receive a facelift.
Next year those taking part can, if they choose, ride several of the off-road sections included in the following day’s Classic for the professionals.
On-road alternatives will remain to give amateurs the best of both gravel and road riding.
Entries are available at www.itpevents.co.uk
The Women and Junior Men’s editions of the CiCLE Classic will take place again on Sunday, June 9 over shortened versions of the international race route.
Both events will form part of British Cycling’s National Road Race Series for their respective categories.
But another new concept to the CiCLE stable of events for 2019 is races for elite men and women within a freshly-created Bourne CiCLE Festival, in neighbouring Lincolnshire.
It has been organised by South Kesteven District Council under the auspices of their tourist promotional arm, InvestSK.