Riders in this year’s Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic will have an even tougher task next month after organisers made a late change to the course.
A tougher opening awaits in the 14th edition of the CiCLE Classic after the direction of the opening two laps around Rutland Water were reversed.
It is the only change to the revamped course ridden in 2017 which included two passages of Stapleford Park in its closing stages for the first time.
Race director Colin Clews explained: “Although only a minor change the prospect of the searing open road climb of Barnsdale Bank in the first two kilometres of the race proper will potentially present a daunting challenge to many after the usual opening 55kph charge which has been a hallmark of the previous 13 editions.”
While unlikely to phase the top British squads, or the 10 foreign-based teams contracted to be on the start line on Sunday, April 22, it could catch out others in the field.
With the cancellation of The Beaumont Trophy as a separate international event, the Classic will be the only race where smaller UK teams and club riders can compete against international registered teams on home soil.
And they could now be tested very early in the race.
“All those involved with the CiCLE Classic, many since it was first instigated, pride themselves on the creation of a real ‘homegrown’ cycling classic, able to hold its head high at World Cycling level,” Clews added.
The CiCLE Classic has boasted many riders who have earned their spurs in recent editions and gone on to greater glory.
Latvian rider Toms Skuyns, who rode the CiCLE Classic in 2015, is now showing his quality at World Tour Level, winning races for the Trek-Segofredo team.
And two of his former team-mates at Reitumu-Riga, and past CiCLE Classic riders, have this year been contracted by British professional teams, One Pro Cycling and newly-formed Vitus Racing.
The men’s international race will be followed by the third edition of the Women’s professional CiCLE Classic on Sunday, June 3, alongside the fifth Junior Men’s CiCLE Classic. Both start and finish in Melton town centre.
All three will cover the Classic’s unique on and off-road courses between Oakham and Melton.
There are also several new sponsors including Bills Bar of Oakham, who are sponsoring the start area, and ReallyMoving.com, new sponsors of the King of the Bergs competition.
Pearce’s jewellers of Melton and Oakham also step in to sponsor the timing car which will proceed all three races.