Previews

2022 Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic: race preview

Preview, startlist, route and contenders for the 16th edition of the mens's 2022 Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic, 22 April 2022

Rutland may well be the UK’s smallest county, but it gives name to the UK’s hardest-hitting race. So, after an enforced absence of two years, we cannot wait for the 16th edition of the men’s Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic, which returns to the roads and farm tracks of Rutland and East Leicestershire this Sunday, 22 April. With a field comprising 34 teams and 176 riders representing 18 nations in total, it will mark the first major race in the domestic calendar this year.

What is it?

A men’s UCI 1.2 race, the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic is now in its 16th year. Taking place on roads and farm tracks across the undulating landscape of Rutland and East Leicestershire, it is one of the most spectator-friendly races on the UK calendar. It is also Britain’s only one-day UCI road race and one of only two UCI road races for men, the other being the Tour of Britain.

The race’s unique terrain means it is often dubbed Britain’s ‘Belgian classic’, but in reality, it is closer in nature to races like Brittany’s Tro-Bro Léon; think dusty farm tracks and gravel rather than cobbles.

Previous winners include Malcolm Elliot (at the age of 45), Conor Dunne and Zak Dempster, as well as Ian Wilkinson, the only man to have won the race twice. Gabriel Cullaigh (Saint Piran) won in 2018 and very nearly won the last edition in 2019 too, only to raise his arms in celebration a little too early and find himself pipped to the line by Rally Cycling’s Colin Joyce.

The photo finish from the 2019 edition of the race. Cullaigh is at the top, with Joyce in the centre (in orange) and Rory Townsend at the bottom.

The route 

At 183.5 kilometres, the 2022 edition is slightly shorter than it was in 2019, but the racing should be no less fierce for it. As with previous editions, the race will feature a dizzying route which takes the riders over six different sectors, some of which are visited more than once and tackled from different directions.

Starting in the village of Oakham by Rutland Water, the route heads north at first to Wymondham where awaiting fans will be treated to four circuits of the village. Here, Wymondham Windmill will be the scene of the first intermediate sprint of the race and a further sprint outside the Berkeley Arms on Main Street before the peloton heads back south again to return to Oakham. On the reverse passage through the start line in Oakham there is another sprint (the Oakham Town Sprint).

It is shortly after Oakham that the riders will reach the first off-road sector, Barleyberg. The organiser has rather each sector by severity and, as a two-star sector, the Barleyberg offers the riders a comparatively gentle start to the off-road action.

With the Barleyberg tackled, it is then on to Owston – a popular spot for fans to congregate – and the crucial sections of the course. Multiple traverses of the challenging sectors of the Somerberg and the Manorberg – as well as the ascents of Cold Overton Berg and Burrough Berg – should serve to thin the peloton out. Major selections should be made here.

No.NameRace DistanceLengthSeverity
11Barleyberg48.47 kms1100 m**
10Somberberg65.83 kms2200 m****
9Manorberg  (Pass 1)78.54 kms700 m****
8Manorberg (Pass 2)101.31 kms700 m****
7Somerberg116.12 kms2200 m*****
6Manorberg (Reverse)120.32 kms1800 m****
5Newbold Manor130.77 kms1200 m**
5aManorberg (Pass 3)141.03 kms700 m***
4Somerberg (Reverse)143.03 kms2200 m*****
3StaplePark (Pass 1)157.00 kms2100 m****
2Sawgate168.16 kms500 m*****
1StaplePark (Pass 2)174.69 kms2100 m****

The Somerberg, in particular, is a brute. At 2.2 km, it is tackled three times in all, and comprises a rutted farm track with grass verges on one side of the summit and loose gravel on the other.

After the last time over the Somerberg, which the riders cross in reverse, the race then begins its progress towards the finish in Melton via Cuckoo Hill and the StaplePark and Sawgate sectors. The first passage of Melton Mowbray will as ever host the special town sprint sponsored by Dickinson & Morris, with the first rider across the line winning themselves a famous giant pork pie.

The race then takes in a final lap of the Melton Mowbray circuit before the finish on Sherrard Street.

Contenders

So who to watch out for? At the time of writing, we have only seen a provisional startlist which is almost certainly outdated. Whatsmore, this is one of the most difficult domestic races to predict. An untimely mechanical or another slice of bad luck can ruin a rider’s chances in an instant. And as 2017 winner Dan Fleeman proved, riders from the smaller teams shouldn’t be discounted either; the small Metaltek team produced the ride of the day despite not having been thought of as a threat.

Our excuses out of the way, there are nonetheless a number of names that are high up on our watchlist.

Wearing bib number one, previous winner Gabz Cullaigh (Saint Piran) immediately stands out. The former WorldTour rider is on his way back from Covid, so his form is an unknown going into the race, but he certainly has the pedigree and the know-how to win. [Update, 22 Apr. Cullaigh has withdrawn from the race as he is still recovering from Covid].

2019 Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic, Leicestershire, England – Colin Joyce of Rally UHC Cycling wins ahead of Gabz Cullaigh (far right), Rory Townsend (far left) and Jacob Scott (centre right). Photo: SWpix.com

WiV SunGod has the strongest squad in our view. Rory Townsend is back on form after finishing 6th at Arno Wallard Memorial last weekend. He was third in 2019 and if he hit the top of his form this weekend, he could be a difficult man to beat if he avoids ill fortune. And in Matt Gibson and Jacob Scott (4th in 2019) also in the team, WiV SunGod have at least three riders that are firmly in the ‘hot favourites’ bracket.

Domestic rivals Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling will also be looking for a top result. Former WorldTour Harry Tanfield certainly has the power if he can engineer a solo move or a small break. And Finn Crockett was on top form at the recent Tour du Loir et Cher, grabbing three top tens on the way to a top ten placing on GC.

Charlie Quarterman rode this race back in 2019, featuring in the breakaway. He has since gone from aspiring youngster to hardened WorldTour rider. Now at the French elite outfit Phillipe Wagner Cycling, this race could provide him with the perfect stage to court the attention of WorldTour teams once more. He has been in fine form so far this season and this race should suit him.

Charlie Quarterman (Holdsworth-Zappi) in the 2019 edition of the race. Photo: Alex Reed

TRINITY Racing always bring an exciting young team but are still awaiting a big result on the road this year. Max Walker and Sam Culverwell have had solid if not spectacular starts to the season and they are both riders we have tipped in the past. Could this race be their breakthrough?

Callum MacLeod’s A Bloc CT are arguably the strongest of the international teams at the race. Their Latvian rider Martin Pluto in particular is capable of top results in semi-classics like these and has a fast finish so shouldn’t be discounted. Joren Bloem is another rider on excellent form at the moment (3rd in the recent Olympia’s Tour), although isn’t on the provisional startlist.

Who else? Isaac Mundy (Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus) goes very well off-road, so could be an outsider to watch. Charlie Paige (BC North West Region) was second at the recent Circuit de Saone et Loire and is due a big result. On the same team is Ben Granger; he got several top results in national races last year, and could well feature here. Great Britain have several young talents. Could this be a day for Bob Donaldson, 7th in the U23 Gent-Wevelgem this year?

Predictions. WiV SunGod have three potential winners in Rory Townsend, Matt Gibson and Jacob Scott, so our money is one from this trio to take the win.

Provisional startlist

#First nameSurnameTeam
1GabrielCULLAIGHSaint Piran
2JacobHENNESSYSaint Piran
3CharlesPAGESaint Piran
4TomMAZZONESaint Piran
5WilliamBJERGFELTSaint Piran
6JacobVAUGHANSaint Piran
7HarryTANFIELDRibble-Weldtite
8CameronJEFFERSRibble-Weldtite
9ZebKYFFINRibble-Weldtite
10RossLAMBRibble-Weldtite
11FinnCROCKETTRibble-Weldtite
12StuartBALFOURRibble-Weldtite
13AidenLAWRENCETrinity Racing
14SamCULVERWELLTrinity Racing
15CameronMASONTrinity Racing
16LukasNERURKARTrinity Racing
17MaxWALKERTrinity Racing
18MatthewDEVINSTrinity Racing
19BodiDEL GROSSOA Bloc CT
20LarsLOOHUISA Bloc CT
21CallumMaCLEODA Bloc CT
22MartinPLUTOA Bloc CT
23JesperRASCHA Bloc CT
24MeindertWEULINKA Bloc CT
25JenteBOONSBEAT Cycling 
26JordyBOUTSBEAT Cycling 
27MatthjisBUCHLIBEAT Cycling 
28SvenBURGERBEAT Cycling 
29StijnDAEMENBEAT Cycling 
30JochemKERCHAERTBEAT Cycling 
31RindertBUITERWPGA
32HugoKARSWPGA
33BramLEERKESWPGA
34BasVan BELLEWPGA
35NiekVOOGTWPGA
36WesselMOURISWPGA
37HarryBIRCHILLGreat Britain
38BobDONALDSONGreat Britain
39OscarNILSSON JULIENGreat Britain
40WilliamTIDBALLGreat Britain
41JoshCHARLTONGreat Britain
42CorranCARRICK ANDERSONGreat Britain
43ZaviCANELLASJava Kiwi Atlantico
44GaizkaGURRUCHAGAJava Kiwi Atlantico
45AndreasMILTIADISJava Kiwi Atlantico
46NikifordsARVANITOUJava Kiwi Atlantico
47EdwinTORRESJava Kiwi Atlantico
48YukiISHIHARAJava Kiwi Atlantico
49DaireFEELEYEvo Pro Racing
50MaartenVERHEYENEvo Pro Racing
51EamonFRANCKEvo Pro Racing
52ConnMcDUNPHYEvo Pro Racing
53RHYSBRITTONEvo Pro Racing
54TiomMORIARTYEvo Pro Racing
55JacobSCOTTWiV SunGod
56RoryTOWNSENDWiV SunGod
57ReeceWOODWiV SunGod
58GruffLEWISWiV SunGod
59MattGIBSONWiV SunGod
60MattBOSTOCKWiV SunGod
61RobertsCUKURSLatvian National Team
62RobertsANDERSONSLatvian National Team
63RodzersPETAKSLatvian National Team
64KarlisKLISMETSLatvian National Team
65OskarsDANKBARSLatvian National Team
66RaulsGUTMANISLatvian National Team
67DanBARNES  Team Spectra-Wiggle p/b Vitus
68FreddieSCHESKETeam Spectra-Wiggle p/b Vitus
69BenCHILTONTeam Spectra-Wiggle p/b Vitus
70TravisBRAMLEYTeam Spectra-Wiggle p/b Vitus
71IsaacMUNDYTeam Spectra-Wiggle p/b Vitus
72MickeyMOTTRAMTeam Spectra-Wiggle p/b Vitus
73CharlesBAILEYPhilippe Wagner Cycling 
74AlexisCARESMELPhilippe Wagner Cycling 
75MateoJOTPhilippe Wagner Cycling 
76AurelienPHILIBERTPhilippe Wagner Cycling 
77CharlieQUARTERMANPhilippe Wagner Cycling 
78VebjornRONNINGPhilippe Wagner Cycling 
79PeterCOCKERRichardsons-Trek DAS
80JamesJENKINSRichardsons-Trek DAS
81SeanMULLENRichardsons-Trek DAS
82JimBRADFORDRichardsons-Trek DAS
83CallumRILEYRichardsons-Trek DAS
84AaronFREEMANRichardsons-Trek DAS
85JasonKENNYUCD Dublin
86RhysKENNYUCD Dublin
87ConnorMURNANEUCD Dublin
88SeanLANDERSUCD Dublin
89AndrewRYANUCD Dublin
90JoelLUKEUCD Dublin
91GeorgeWOODCycling Sheffield
92AdamMITCHELLCycling Sheffield
93WillHARDINGCycling Sheffield
94JamesMcKAYCycling Sheffield
95JoeCOUKHAMCycling Sheffield
96JamesHARTLEYCycling Sheffield
97JamiesonBLAINEmbark-Bikestrong
98MichaelCHADWICKEmbark-Bikestrong
99DeanWATSONEmbark-Bikestrong
100DavidHIRDEmbark-Bikestrong
101JosephREESEmbark-Bikestrong
102IwanEVANSEmbark-Bikestrong
103JosephBECKINGSALEWales Racing Academy
104OwainROBERTSWales Racing Academy
105WillTRUELOVEWales Racing Academy
106SamBECKETTWales Racing Academy
107EdwardMORGANWales Racing Academy
108Liam JamesMORRISWales Racing Academy
109TobyJARVISTeam PB Performance
110JacquesCOATESTeam PB Performance
111GeorgePEDENTeam PB Performance
112JamesBENTLEYTeam PB Performance
113JudeTAYLORTeam PB Performance
114KieranRILEYTeam PB Performance
115JoshPRICESpirit BSS
116GeorgeKIMBERSpirit BSS
117JoshAVERYSpirit BSS
118JordanPEACOCKSpirit BSS
119TomPRICESpirit BSS
120AngusHAWKINSSpirit BSS
121JackCROOKDolan Ellesse 
122ConorMcKINNONDolan Ellesse 
123TomASHCROFTDolan Ellesse 
124JoeWILSONDolan Ellesse 
125MattTAYLORDolan Ellesse 
126DeclanHUDSONDolan Ellesse 
127ScottREDDING SCRT – Muc-Off
128WilliamHARPERSCRT – Muc-Off
129OliverMAXWELLSCRT – Muc-Off
130ElliotBARRATSCRT – Muc-Off
131MatthewWARHURSTSCRT – Muc-Off
132MatthewELLISSCRT – Muc-Off
133DanielYONHINTarrants Skoda Cycling Munster
134ConorKISSANETarrants Skoda Cycling Munster
135JordanLUKETarrants Skoda Cycling Munster
136MarkSHANAHANTarrants Skoda Cycling Munster
137PaulHARTHart Performance Coaching
138ThomasCORBETHart Performance Coaching
139LouisDIGANCEHart Performance Coaching
140SamuelTHIENELHart Performance Coaching
141LoganMacLEANWheelbase CabTech Castelli
142MattiDOBBINSWheelbase CabTech Castelli
143CallumTHORNLEYWheelbase CabTech Castelli
144TimSHOREMANWheelbase CabTech Castelli
145DanielKAINSpokes Racing Team
146CameronBROWNSpokes Racing Team
147MurrayLAWSONSpokes Racing Team
148CraigPATERSONSpokes Racing Team
149TimothyTORRIETBW 23 Stuart Hall Trainsharp
150OliverWOODTBW 23 Stuart Hall Trainsharp
151KishanBAKRANIATBW 23 Stuart Hall Trainsharp
152MaximillianASHWARDENTBW 23 Stuart Hall Trainsharp
153WilliamFOSTERJRC Interflon RT
154WilliamJEWITTJRC Interflon RT
155MarcusCOCKERILJRC Interflon RT
156EthanBROWNEJRC Interflon RT
157AlexHAINESEast Mids BC Region p/b Carter-Legrand Wealth Management
158PierreVERNIEEast Mids BC Region p/b Carter-Legrand Wealth Management.
159AlecGREGORYEast Mids BC Region p/b Carter-Legrand Wealth Management.
160NickCOOPEREast Mids BC Region p/b Carter-Legrand Wealth Management.
161CharlesPAIGEBC North West Region
162AlistairTHOMASBC North West Region
163BenjaminPEATFIELDBC North West Region
164BenGRANGERBC North West Region
165OliHURDLEStolen Goat Racing Team
166JackFOTHERGILLStolen Goat Racing Team
167TomHEALStolen Goat Racing Team
168CharlieAGERStolen Goat Racing Team
169BenTHOMPSONTeam LDN – Brother UK
170TimALLENTeam LDN – Brother UK
171VaughnPRETORIUSTeam LDN – Brother UK
172JodyPAXMANTeam LDN – Brother UK
173MattDOWNIETAAP Cervelo
174MattLOCKTAAP Cervelo
175HarveySTROHTAAP Cervelo
176BenFISHTAAP Cervelo
177DavidBOLLANDArmy Cycling Union
178KeiranSIMCOXArmy Cycling Union
179SeanDODSWORTHArmy Cycling Union
180StefanGLOYNArmy Cycling Union

Timings

Official start: 11.00. Expected finish: 15.40

Weather

No rain in the run-up to the race means dust, rather than mud, should be the flavour of the day for the riders. The day itself is due to be dry with temperatures up to 13 degrees. A fresh breeze could open the possibility of echelons on the more exposed parts of the course, assuming the terrain itself hasn’t already blown the race apart!

How to follow

The CiCLE Classic Twitter account normally provides regular race updates. Joe Hudson will be there on the ground for us too, so keep an eye on our Instagram stories for updates and video content from him.

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com 2019 Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic, Leicestershire, England – Tom Pidcock and Gabriel Cullaigh of Team Wiggins Le Col.