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Britain's Ronde Van Vlaanderen: the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic
Britain's sole UCI one-day race continues thanks to new sponsor
The existence of the only UCI one-day race on the British calendar, the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic, has been secured for 2011. Race director Colin Clews confirmed to Cyclingnews that the race will take place on Sunday 17th April with the new official name of the Tesco Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic.
The newfound support of the Tesco Charity Trust is well-timed to guarantee that the event will continue. Officially registered in the UCI schedule since last September, it was threatened by cancellation after the loss of its main sponsor, the East Midlands Development Agency. “We imposed ourselves a deadline in the middle of January to find a new sponsor because we had to invite teams and book hotels,” Colin Clews told Cyclingnews.
The new sponsorship deals runs for one year, but the organiser hopes to extend and secure the future of his race “for two or three years.”
Ranked 1.2, the Tesco Rutland-Melton International Cicle Classic is the only UCI race in the United Kingdom apart from the Tour of Britain (11-18 September), and the sole one-day race. It is defined by the unmade roads that pepper its route, in the manner of Paris-Roubaix and other lesser races such as the Tro Bro Léon in Brittany and the Strade Bianche in Tuscany.
The “special sectors” without asphalt represent a total of 15-16km of the race distance. The route will be almost the same as last year but will be 5km longer due to the addition of a new sector, increasing the distance from 168 to 173km. The start is in the town centre of Oakham, the county town of Rutland, and the finish is in nearby Melton Mowbray.
Founded in 2005, the Tesco Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic gained UCI status two years later. Past winners of the UCI event are the iconic British veteran Malcolm Elliott (2007), Irishman Ciaran Power (2008) and mountain bike and cyclo-cross specialist Ian Wilkinson (2009). Last time around it was the Dane Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand) who triumphed.
32 teams are expected to compete in the 2011 edition, including some national and Continental teams.