The pro cycling teams of Bradley Wiggins and England cricketer Matt Prior are among the 35 entered for this month’s Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic.
The Classic, which takes place on Sunday, April 26, will again feature all of Britain’s top domestic professional teams, including the Wiggins-inspired team and Prior’s Team One Pro Cycling.
Last year’s top three all return, riding for the JTL-Condor and Madison-Genesis teams, as does the race’s only double winner, Ian Wilkinson, who leads the Raleigh-GAC team.
The international field includes nine Continental-based squads, including An Post-Chain Reaction and Team 3M from Belgium, the German-based Bike Aid for Africa, and the Valkenburg team, from the Netherlands, which includes New Zealander James Judd, the nephew of race director Colin Clews.
The race has traditionally enjoyed a global reach and this year the newly-formed New Zealand squad CCT-Champion System will take to the start line in Oakham.
Clews said: “The support from foreign squads gets more thrilling each year. The biggest problem we face is the plethora of events on the international calendar at this time which prevents all those that want to come being present.
“But those that we have are well-matched for our homegrown teams, and that is excellent in helping to raise the standard of racing in Britain even higher.”
The international race will follow the same 180km course as last year with major climbs of Cold Overton (x2), Burrough-on-the-Hill (x4) and Cuckoo Hill which is tackled by tired legs just 20km before the finish line in Melton.
The race will be preceded by the second Junior CiCLE Classic on Sunday morning which has attracted 165 entries and is part of British Cycling’s National Junior Road Race series.