The only one-day UCI race in the UK open to British Continental and elite teams, the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic returns for its 16th edition on 26th April.
A UCI 1.2 race, the race takes place on roads and farm tracks across the undulating landscape of Rutland and East Leicestershire on one of the most spectator-friendly courses on the UK calendar. It features the best of Britain’s smaller teams – Continental and elite – as well as a host of foreign-based teams.
The route was updated in 2019, with two high-speed laps of Rutland Water being replaced by a winding route through Burley-on-the-Hill, Ashwell and Teigh to Wymondham. Four laps of varying length around Wymondham then followed before the race rejoined more familiar roads and tracks.
This year the course has been tweaked further, pushing the race distance to 200.5 kilometres, exactly on the maximum distance of 200 kilometres currently allowed for an international race of its level.
Starting in Oakham, the race will again take in the opening four-lap Wymondham section. This time, however, one of the laps will be extended to include a new, previously unused, off-road sector. Involving 650 metres of gravel track rising at an average of 8%, the newly titled ‘Costonberg’ sector is expected to enliven the race in its early stages. Coming just 35 kilometres into the race, however, means there will be plenty of time to regroup.
The race will then head back to Oakham and then travels west to take in 11 special sectors including Barleyberg, ‘Somerberg’, ‘StaplePark’ and ‘Sawgate’, before finishing in Melton.
Race director Colin Clews expects more course changes in 2021 as a result of changes in UCI regulations: “Sadly, with a proposed change in the regulations decreasing the maximum distance that a race of our stature can cover to 180 kilometres from 2021, a further change in the route will be required in future. For the time being, we ‘make hay while the sun shines’ for the benefit of both riders and spectators.”
We will produce a more detailed route preview of the race nearer to the time once more details are confirmed
More UCI races in 2021?
Perhaps one of the most intriguing – and exciting – aspects of the race’s press release about the 2020 route is the hint that the UK might have more UCI 1.2 races in 2021. The release says:
“With the CiCLE Classic having remained the only international one day race on the UK calendar at UCI 1.2 level for so many years, it looks that at long last that a small number of other domestic races will also move to that level in 2021. Thereby creating the potential for a domestic international series of races to support and provide better quality races for Britain’s dwindling number of UCI registered teams.”
Whether or not this transpires is another matter, but it provides hope that some positive news for the domestic road racing scene may be around the corner.
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 28/04/2019 – Road Cycling – Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic, Leicestershire, England