Britain’s toughest one-day race, the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic, will return in 2014 for its tenth anniversary edition with a new route on Sunday April 27.
The event – which will also feature a junior race for the first time – will be six kilometres shorter this year at 179km, but includes the new climb of Cuckoo Hill.
Organisers have also opted to reverse the finishing circuit, changes which they hope will provide a tougher finish and offer more opportunities for spectators.
Race director Colin Clews said: “Since its inception, the CiCLE Classic has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest one day races on the European International calendar, and the changes introduced for our special anniversary year are intended to raise this reputation even higher.”
An extra climb of Burton Road also features, and the finishing straight on Sherrard Street, Melton, is now much longer – but the traditional passage of Whissendine will make way to accommodate the new route.
Last year’s race – won last year by Ian Wilkinson of the now-defunct Team UK Youth squad – attracted riders from 27 different countries and an international team line-up is already taking shape.
Cult Energy-Vital Water (Denmark), Reitumu-Delfin (Latvia), CK Banska (Slovakia) and Start-Trigon (Paraguay) have all already been confirmed by race organisers.
Cult Energy, then known as Glud & Marstrand, won the race in 2010 with Michael Berling, while Reitumu-Delfin’s Tom Skeynes was fifth at last year’s under-23 world championship road race.
Scotland will also field a national team in the event in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, with all ‘home’ nations having been invited to compete.
The race, for the first time, will be preceded by a junior race which rolls out of Oakham town centre at 9am, two hours before the Classic.
Covering an entirely new course, the 92km route takes in five laps of Market Overton, Thistleton, Edmondthorpe with detours through Barrow to include off-road sections in the course.
Clews added: “Since the CiCLE Classic established itself as Britain’s only single day international race we have always emphasised that our intention was to encourage other British races to follow us to that level.
“Finally in 2014 at least one race in the North East is taking that ‘plunge’ and we are delighted to see that.
“Now however, we wish to set new targets for others by showing that we should also be providing high quality races for our up and coming riders, so once again we are setting down markers for others to follow.
“For now though, our intention is clear, we want to help create Britain’s future champions, today!”
With former competitors including Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Ed Clancy, organisers are hoping for a strong spectator turn-out this year with viewing points along the route and Rutland Cycling organising free guided group rides.
The Rutland-Melton sportive will also take place the previous day, with entries available here.
For more information about the race, and where to view it, visit www.cicleclassic.co.uk.