The immediate future of what in recent seasons has been the UK’s leading one-day race, the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, appears to have been secured after organisers secured new sponsorship from the Giant Store – Rutland Water and Schwalbe Tyres.
Previous sponsors Mountivation, who had signed up to support the UCI 1.2-ranked race until 2014, pulled out in November, leaving organiser Colin Clews to face the prospect of dipping into his pocket to ensure April’s race went ahead, as he has had to do on occasion in the past.
There was even some talk that the race, which is modelled on Paris-Roubaix and began in 2005 as a Premier Calendar event, might disappear altogether.
Last year’s race, won by French rider Alexandre Blain of Endura Racing in filthy conditions – the race was described as the toughest ever edition – was also in doubt until Mountivation reconfirmed its commitment early in 2012.
Thanks to the new sponsorship that has been obtained, as well as increased support from existing backers Rutland County, this year’s edition will now go ahead on Sunday 21 April as planned.
It is hoped that the race may one day secure UCI 1.1 status, putting it on a par with events such as Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne, which would open the field up to UCI ProTeams.
That is the ranking that has been granted to this year’s inaugural edition of the Olympic legacy pro race in London and Surrey, the Ride London Classic, which will therefore rank higher than the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic.
Clews told the Melton Times: “I firmly believe we have created in Melton and Rutland a truly world class event which, with proper support, can see the very top teams in the sport racing on our roads within the next few years.
“In the newly-found commercial sponsorship from Rutland Cycling Giant Store and Schwalbe, the race has found partners who share this aim.”
The Giant Store - Rutland Water is run by Rutland Group, which also operates independent bike shops Rutland Water Cycling and Grafham Water Cycling.