The 2016 Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic looks set to feature its best-ever field when the race returns in April.
Anticipation is steadily building with a little more than two months left until the 12th edition of the popular annual race.
Alongside leading British professional teams and its usual quota of riders from all four corners of the globe, this year’s ?? is set to include Pro Continental level teams for the first time.
British-based One Pro Cycling, which made a spectacular debut at last year’s CiCLE Classic, will return after their elevation to this second tier of international professional teams.
The Classic’s infamous 180km course is expected to be the team’s first competitive action on British soil this year after enjoying good results in Australia and the Middle East against some of the world’s best teams.
Last year’s winner Steele von Hoff has been prominent in their early season success overseas and will wear number one on his vest on his return to Melton on Sunday, April 24.
Negotiations are also continuing with other Pro Continental teams to ride alongside One Pro and the Continental level teams who fly in annually.
Park Hotel Valkenburg Cycling Team, who last year placed three riders in the top eight to win the Melton Building Society Team award have already committed their top riders.
The CiCLE Classic will also welcome race debutants German team Christina Jewellery, from Stuttgart, who have named former Amstel Gold Race winner Stefan Schumacher among their line-up.
Another new team to the race, WSG Amsterdam have named several former World Tour riders in their squad, including Mike Terpstra, brother of 2014 Paris–Roubaix winner Nikki.
Race director Colin Clews, from Wymondham, said: “With many more squads to finalise their teams for the race, we are due once more for the best and most exciting race ever.
“All the top British teams will be out to prove their worth, and together with teams such as An Post-Chain Reaction and many more foreign squads all wishing to be part of the action, we will again have a local race to be proud of.”
Negotiations are also continuing with several production companies about television coverage for the 2016 edition following on from a Crowdfunding bid launched late last year.
Several new sponsors will support this year’s race including Brooksby Melton College who will have a stand near the race finish within Melton Market Place.