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Dempster sprints to victory in Tesco Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic

Pierre Carrey

Rapha Condor's Aussie confirms his “Flemish” skills

Riders line up in Oakham ready for the start of the 2011 Tesco Cicle Classic.

Riders line up in Oakham ready for the start of the 2011 Tesco Cicle Classic.

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Zak Dempster triumphed on Sunday in the English cousin of the “Eroica” in Italy, the Tesco Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic (1.2), when he outsprinted Belgium’s Erwin De Kerf (Hand in Hand Espoirs) and Poland’s Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint) at the head of an 18-rider group.

Contrary to previous years, the Cicle Classic wasn’t decided in the first kilometres by a huge breakaway that the peloton would never see again. Instead, the bunch was whittled down in an elimination race through the twisty and undulating roads of the East Midlands countryside, which give the Cicle Classic a Tour of Flanders’ look.

“To be honest it was a quite negative race today,” Dempster told Cyclingnews at the finish. “I was pretty aggressive, perhaps too much, but it never helped to make the difference.” Perhaps the dry weather was the main factor in the wait-and-see nature of the race.

Three riders tried serious lone escapes, however: Briton Tom Southam (Rapha Condor), Spaniard Javier Pomares (KTM-Murcia) and Frenchman Léo Fortin (ESEG Douai).

The latter, a pro stagiaire with Crédit Agricole in 2006 who stopped racing in 2010 and came back last winter, was caught with three kilometres to go, after an escape of around thirty kilometres. His gap reached 1:50 but he said that he had no illusions in the last 12 kilometres.

Following a very fast teammate of Fortin’s into the last corner before the line, Dempster almost crashed but he was in second position, a perfect position for the sprint. In the previous kilometres, his team had supported him through Dan Craven and Dean Downing's strong lead-out. The other Rapha rider in the front group, Graham Briggs, was another wildcard for the sprint.

The 23-year-old Dempster, a former track specialist as part of the Australian Institute of Sport’s programme, confirmed his strong abilities in the “Flemish” classics with this victory. On a similar course, he won the Dengie Marshes Tour last week, a Premier calendar race in Essex. In 2009 he rode Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with Bulgarian continental team CC Bourgas and finished 15th of the Three Days of West Flanders.

“To win the Tesco Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic was something special,” Dempster said. “I really enjoyed the route. It’s like the Tro Bro Leon [another semi-classic in Brittany – Ed.] and I really like it!” He expects to join a WorldTour team as soon as possible. Dempster will soon have further opportunities to shine at the highest level, notably in France with the Tour of Lorraine, the Ronde de l’Oise and the Boucles de la Mayenne.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Rapha Condor - Sharp 4:09:56  
2 Erwin De Kerf (Bel)    
3 Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) Motorpoint    
4 Jonathan Mcevoy (GBr) Motorpoint    
5 Jose Ramirez (Spa)    
6 Tomas Okrouhlicky (Cze) AC Sparta Praha    
7 Llewwellyn Kinch (GBr)    
8 Kasper Linde Jorgensen (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO    
9 Lasse Bochmann (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO    
10 David Clarke (GBr) Endura Racing    
11 Daniel Fleeman (GBr)    
12 David Skrzypczak (Fra)    
13 David Mcgowan (GBr)    
14 Niki Ostergaard (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO    
15 Niklas Gustavsson (Swe)    
16 Graham Briggs (GBr) Rapha Condor - Sharp    
17 Javier Benitez Pomares (Spa) KTM - Murcia    
18 Ian Bibby (GBr) Motorpoint    
19 Pierre Drancourt (Fra) 0:00:13  
20 Liam Holohan (GBr) 0:00:17  
21 Bastien Delrot (Fra) 0:00:19  
22 Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor - Sharp 0:00:30  
23 Léo Fortin (Fra) 0:00:36  
24 Steven Lampier (GBr) Sigma Sport - Specialized 0:00:48  
25 Scott Thwaites (GBr) Endura Racing 0:00:56  
26 Horton Tobyn (GBr) Motorpoint 0:01:00  
27 David Mclean (GBr) 0:01:05  
28 James Sampson (GBr) Motorpoint 0:01:25  
29 James Stewart (GBr) 0:01:41  
30 Robert Partridge (GBr) Endura Racing 0:01:55  
31 Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha Condor - Sharp 0:01:56  
32 Jack Adams (GBr) 0:02:11  
33 Szlachta Wojciech (Pol) 0:02:12  
34 Wouter Sybrandy (Ned) Sigma Sport - Specialized    
35 Andrew Hawdon (GBr) 0:02:22  
36 Salvador Guardiola Tora (Spa) KTM - Murcia 0:02:41  
37 Rafael Rodriguez (Spa) 0:03:22  
38 Jason Flooks (GBr) 0:06:19  
39 Andy Coupe (GBr)    
40 Ashley Cox (GBr)    
41 Matthew Higgins (GBr)    
42 Alastair Kay (GBr)    
43 James Mccallum (GBr) Rapha Condor - Sharp    
44 Michael Berling (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO    
45 Richard Handley (GBr) 0:06:34  
46 Andrew Griffiths (GBr) 0:06:36  
47 Martyn Irvine (Irl) Giant Kenda Cycling Team 0:06:47  
48 Tom Barras (GBr)    
49 James Mclaughlin (GBr)    
50 Ward Lapiere (Bel)    
51 Jody Crawforth (GBr)    
52 Gunnar Gronlund (Swe) 0:06:53  
53 Perry Bowater (GBr) 0:06:58  
54 Chris Opie (GBr) 0:07:36  
55 Evan Oliphant (GBr) Endura Racing    
56 Geoffrey Deresmes (Fra) 0:11:58  
57 John Tanner (GBr)    
58 Stephen Adams (GBr) Sigma Sport - Specialized    
59 Dan Smith (GBr)    
60 Ross Creber (GBr)    
61 James Cambridge (GBr)    
62 Rob Carter (GBr)    
63 Arne De Schuyter (Bel)    
64 Kristian Downs (GBr)    
65 James Scott (GBr)    
66 Philip Mooney (USA)    
67 Michael Cuming (GBr) 0:12:05  
68 Chris Mark (GBr) 0:12:16  
69 Simon Wilson (GBr) 0:14:55  
70 Ryan Sherlock (Irl) Giant Kenda Cycling Team    
71 Richard Mardle (GBr)    
72 Mark Perry (GBr)    
73 Tomas Hruby (Cze) AC Sparta Praha    
74 Oscar Garcia-Casarrubios Pintor (Spa) KTM - Murcia    
75 Ray Alexander (NZl)    
76 Matthew Hamilton (GBr)    
77 David Palmer (GBr)    
78 Duncan Moralee (GBr)    
79 Robert Hayles (GBr) Endura Racing    
80 Kevin Dawson (GBr)    
81 Richard Meadows (Irl)    
82 Joe Norledge (GBr)    
83 Arne Govaert (Bel)    
84 Matt Myers (USA)    
85 Ben Simmons (GBr)    
86 Dale Appleby (GBr)    
87 Robert Orr (GBr)    
88 Matthew Ullmer (GBr)    
89 Antoine Fouldrin (Fra)    
90 Damien Shaw (Irl)