Updated: 13 April (see end of post).
A new major sponsor is being sought to ensure that the 6th Women’s CiCLE Classic and the 8th men’s Junior CiCLE Classic can go ahead as planned, following the decision of longstanding sponsor Pete Stanton to withdraw his sponsorship of the races.
The races – which form part of the British Cycling’s National Road Series and the Junior National Road Series – are due to take place on Sunday 19 June, having become integral parts of the national racing calendar over recent years.
Previous winners of the women’s race include Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Katie Archibald and last year’s victor Abi Smith, with its unique terrain and challenging course making it a firm favourite in the women’s peloton. WorldTour rider James Shaw is a former winner of the junior men’s edition.
CiCLE Classics are working closely with British Cycling to safeguard the 2022 editions of the women’s and junior men’s races, but require an additional £15,000 by 10 May to prevent their cancellation.
Stanton was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s CiCLE Classic, and has sponsored the race since its inception in 2016, but decided to withdraw his sponsorship after British Cycling’s decision to suspend its Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy.
“The transgender policy adopted by British Cycling had been the result of a full consultation process and was believed to have been working well until last week when it was suspended without any further consultation,” Stanton said.
“Whilst fully supportive of women’s sport, I also have many friends and colleagues within the transgender community whom I feel that I would be letting down if I did not make a stand to show my support for their rights.
“This is not the first case of a transgender rider competing under UCI rules, or even as part of an official UCI team, and to arbitrarily change that position based on one individual case, I find totally unacceptable.
“I am desperately saddened by the Emily Bridges case and the actions that it has prompted me to take. I sincerely hope that a satisfactory resolution to her case and that of similar cases in the future can be quickly found in the interests of all parties involved, and sport in general.”
CiCLE Classics Race Director, Colin Clews, said that he is determined to find “like-minded partners who can help s to deliver the race in 2022 and support its future development”.
He also paid tribute to Stanton: “Peter has been, and continues to be, massively committed to the development of women’s racing within the UK. His financial contribution to support this aim over the past six years is way beyond that of any other private individual.
“As an organisation we hope that it may be possible to renew our collaboration at some stage in the future to continue our joint pursuit of promoting domestic women’s racing at the highest level.”
CiCLE Classics confirmed that the 16th Rutland-Melton International Men’s CiCLE Classic is unaffected and will take place as planned on Sunday 24 April.
Update, 13 April. The Women’s CiCLE Classic organisers have announced the race will run this year, thanks to what it describes as a “phenomenal response” following their plea for sponsorship.
A phenomenal response to our plea made yesterday means there WILL be someone following in @abijesmith wheelmarks in June @CiCLEWomens THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! Including @BritishCycling News to come! pic.twitter.com/o0VeUI8Aqt— colin clews (@CiCLEWomens) April 13, 2022
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. 2021 HSBC UK National Women’s Road Series – Women’s CiCLE Classic – Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England – Abi Smith of Team Breeze wins the Women’s CiCLE Classic.