Top racers line up for a Classic

Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic. The start of the 2011 race in Oakham. Photo: SM170411-018ow.jpg
Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic. The start of the 2011 race in Oakham. Photo: SM170411-018ow.jpg

WITH just over two weeks until the 2012 Rutland–Melton CiCLE Classic, 34 teams have been confirmed as starting the race.

Nine foreign based teams will add international flavour to the ever-popular race with leading British teams also well represented in the final line-up.

The 183km race starts from Oakham town centre on Sunday, April 29, with a route that takes in a circuit around Rutland Water before a hill stage at Cold Overton and final legs between Whissendine and Melton Mowbray.

One of the most interesting entry comes from Austria who field Tobias Erler, a former Austrian national Road Champion and former member of the HTC – Highroad team, the same team that brought Britain’s Mark Cavendish to world prominence. Erler comes to the CiCLE Classic with a reputation for featuring strongly on challenging courses such as that covered in the Rutland–Melton race.

He is expected to figure in the final stages of the race. Other interesting entries include a British Cycling National U23 Academy team for the first time, that will include former national junior road race champion and Delhi Commonwealth Games Silver medallist George Atkins.

The CiCLE Classic will also be the first major sporting event to be staged in Leicestershire and Rutland as part of the Community Games initiative in connection with the London Olympics.

Race director Colin Clews said: “The CiCLE Classic has always prided itself on the involvement of the whole community through which the race passes and is held, and many cultural and enduring sporting activities are now strongly associated with the event.”

The day before the race, the Rutland CiCLE tour will be held in which amateur riders can test themselves over 50 and 100 mile courses.