Brit uses mountain biking skills to win classics-style road race

British rider Ian Wilkinson scored an impressive win against the best ever field assembled at the East Midlands International CiCLE Classic today, 26th April. The 30-year-old multiple British mountain biking champion used his experience to overcome high profile opposition at Britain’s biggest one-day international cycle race.

The 157.8km route, starting in Oakham and finishing in Melton, Leicestershire, featured narrow gravel lanes and farm tracks as well as sharp turns and challenging hill sections, reminiscent of the great European spring classic races.

Wilkinson and his Halfords BikeHut team ensured that he was part of an early breakaway group and used his mountain biking skills exceptionally well in the dry, dusty conditions. “It was a case of not being scared of the terrain,” he said.

“We had a view to get at least one rider into an early break, which we did do and the guys in the main group could relax a bit then. Last year the group that got away around Rutland Water stayed away and the same happened this year.”

The Lancastrian added: “This win gets right up to the top of the tree in terms of career wins. I felt like a legend coming down the finishing straight in front, and my legs felt great. I knew the Dane behind me had been cornering better so I kept an eye on him but it was a fantastic finish.”

Britain also celebrated a third place finish in the shape of Welshman, Yanto Barker (GThomas-Colnago-Ass.) and Kristian House was the King of the Mountains, Most Aggressive Rider and helped his Rapha-Condor team to the overall team title. His team featured former World Champion track rider, Chris Newton.

The race featured 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner, Magnus Backstedt, coming out of retirement to support his new Magnus Masimus Coffee team riders.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.