Ryan Henry will fly the flag for Rutland when racers from 22 countries compete in the ninth Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic on Sunday.
Henry is the lone Rutland entry among 160 riders and will be racing for a one-off East Midlands team.
The 114 mile (183km) race looks like being one of the hardest to predict with last year’s winner, Alexander Blain, of France, returning to defend his title. But he will be up against tough competition in the 34-team race.
Olympic Team Pursuit gold medallist Ed Clancy will be among the leading challengers, along with last year’s runner-up James McCallum.
All of Britain’s top domestic teams are represented but race director Colin Clews reckons a stiff challenge will come from teams from Poland’s Wibatech team, and Azerbaijan’s Synergy–Baku Project team. Both squads have riders who have represented their countries in recent Olympics and World Championships.
The race begins from Oakham Market Place at 11am and takes in two laps of Rutland Water before a hill section past Cold Overton, and on to Melton.
Colin Clews said: “Last year the race came of age, when the weather conditions produced the hardest imaginable racing experience that any rider is ever likely to face.
“Next year we reach ten years and we intend that that edition will be extra special. This year’s race should provide an excellent starting point for that to take place.”
This year’s race is sponsored by the Giant Store and Schwalbe Tyres.
n Before the start of Sunday’s race, junior riders from Velo Club Rutland will put on an Italian Pursuit demonstration race.
Neil Redman-Davies said: “This is a great illustration of how all age groups of juniors can compete and race against each other.”
The club launched a Young Rider section in September 2012 and now has three coaching sessions each with their riders entering their first races in May.