The brand new Bourne CiCLE Classic takes place this weekend, the final National A road race of the season.
What is it?
The men’s Bourne CiCLE Classic is part of the Bourne CiCLE Festival; a weekend of cycle events and racing. The weekend incorporates men’s and women’s road races, a women’s team time trial, a sportive and a whole host of other spectator-friendly activities. The events, unsurprisingly, are centred around the town of Bourne (the clue is in the name) and the surrounding Lincolnshire landscape. It’s organised by the same people who run the now-iconic Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic.
The men’s race takes place on Sunday (1 September), neatly positioned just one weekend before the start of the Tour of Britain. An opportunity for some of the British Continental teams competing in the Tour to fine tune their race form. There is talk of the race becoming a UCI accredited race at some point in the future, which could make it an ideal ‘staging post’ for Continental and Pro Continental teams ahead of Britain’s national tour.
The men’s race is centred around Bourne town centre. 175 km in length, the race begins just south of Bourne. It incorporates three circuits. A shorter one taking the riders into Bourne town centre for the first time, a longer lap which heads north before looping back to Bourne once again, and then a shorter ‘finishing’ circuit. Keen spectators will therefore have several opportunities to watch the race action.
In terms of profile, race director Colin Clews describes the course as ‘constantly rolling’. The elevation profile on the race’s website (below) show that; the race never reaches more than 120 m above sea level, but nonetheless features ups and downs throughout the race.
Contenders & startlist
Being the only National A road race that is not part of the Natonal Road Series this year, the race doesn’t feature a full complement of British Continental teams for its inaugural edition. The two big teams missing from the provisional startlist are Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes and Team Wiggins Le Col, who have both opted to race on the Continent this weekend instead. Madison Genesis are there but only have two riders.
SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, Ribble Pro Cycling and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK all have full line-ups, and several elite teams are also fielding big teams, including Richardsons-Trek, Wheelbase CabTech Castelli and Crimson Orientation Marketing.
With fewer big teams to control things, this could make for an open, aggressive race, the kind where early moves can pay off if a strong selection is made.
Which riders to look out for? From the provisional startlist (the final startlist will inevitably look different), National Road Series winner Matt Holmes has to be a top favourite despite being one of only two Madison Genesis riders. Ribble Pro Cycling’s Damien Clayton has been in scintillating form over in France and Belgium in the last couple of weeks, winning the Grand Prix des Marbriers (UCI 1.2) and picking up top 10s in pro kermesses. SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling’s provisional line-up is packed with strength, including two of the riders of the season in James Shaw and Jacob Scott. For Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK riders like Ali Slater, Chris Latham and Graham Briggs this will be a last chance to grab a big domestic result this season, with the team having missed out on Tour of Britain selection.
The race could also offer an opportunity for a first (and last) National A road race win by an elite rider this season. The ever-strong Steve Lampier (Saint Piran) is on the list and must be one of the favourites. And up-and-coming riders like Kieran Savage (Cycling Sheffield), Jim Brown (Team Inspired), Sam Culverwell (Team Estera) and Joe Sutton (Richardsons-Trek) all have the chance to grab a big win.
Finish: 17.30 approx
The forecast is for warm, sunny weather with a moderate breeze.
How to follow
Follow @BourneCiCLEfest on Twitter for race updates.
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 28/04/2019 – Road Cycling – Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic, Leicestershire, England