Video: Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic
No, they haven't gone the wrong way.....

If you think that arty and wistful footage of wizened pro cyclists suffering on unsuitable surfaces is something restricted to continental Europe, then think again. The UK has some homegrown challenges too, and the best-known among them is the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic, which features 105 miles of racing on roads and farm tracks.

The aim is to create an event as close to the feel of a continental classic as possible, and certainly it's a hard-fought and gritty affair. This dry April meant dust rather than muck for the 170 competitors, and a fast, close race was won in the end by Zak Dempster of Rapha Condor Sharp, who closed out Erwin De Kerf (Hand in Hand Espoirs) and Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta) in the final sprint.

If you want to know what it's like to be at the centre of a classic race there's plenty to mull over in our Paris-Roubaix YouTube roundup, and you can add to those five vids this nicely shot CiCLE Classic one from Zak's bike sponsors, Condor Cycles. We don't have much Pavé over here, but as you can see that hasn't stopped the organisers from finding some wholly inappropriate stretches of course, in this case gravel-strewn and rutted farm tracks. Cue plenty of dust, hurt and punctures. It can't be much fun if you split a tube and get dropped...

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.