By Gerry McManus
One hundred and sixty top class riders will roll out from Oakham Town Centre on Sunday April 29 for the third running of the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic (also known as the Rutland to Melton). The UCI 1.2 ranked race has attracted more than 250 entries who wanted to ride the event styled on the illustrious Paris-Roubaix classic in France.
This race is very different from other races on the British Cycling Premier Calendar series as it features a number of tracks and old roads to give it some of the same difficulties experienced in the Roubaix race. However this race is far from flat and is more like the Tour of Flanders in places. There is a prime at Cold Overton Hill and three at Borough on the Hill with the King of the Hills jersey and £100 waiting for the rider with most points. The sprinters will be incentivised to stay at the front group too with £50 on offer for the winner of each of the three hot spot sprints at Oakham Town Centre and Owston Village Centre.
The roads used in the last 90km contain 11 sections of poorly surfaced or farm roads and light tyres have not been recommended. Loose gravel could put an end to some racing ambitions if not carefully approached. Irish international Andy Roche (Pinarello RT) has not been put off after his bizarre accident in sight of the finish line last year while chasing down eventual winner Rob Sharman (KFS Special Vehicles). Roche took a bad tumble on a good road surface and broke his collarbone. His teammate Malcolm Elliott cannot be missed off the favourites list either, having won the prestigious Shay Elliott Memorial in Ireland last weekend. Sharman is back to defend his title this year and wears the number one dossard.
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