The International Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic - 2023


The International  Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic race is held over a distance of 183Km with circa 180 starter and ranked a 1.2 UCI status.

Its unique as it’s the UK’s homage to the legendary Ronde Van Vlaanderan and Paris Roubaix and the under 23 team Sheffield put their Moda Finale thru its paces over the challenging off road sections and steep bergs around East Leicestershire in support of James to place him well in the leading group of 20 riders where he could light up the road with his strong sprint.

The Race was won by USA’s Luke Lamperti (Tinity Racing) and from Belgian Tijl De Decker (Lotto) with James McKay rounding off the podium in 3rd.

DHW supported all the CiCLE events with Race winners Jerseys (by GSG)  and Ken Jones from DHW who has a close relationship with Colin Clews the race organiser was there in person to support the team on the day.


A race summary from James McKay:

"I didn't target Cicle too specifically as there was such a large luck factor, it can be heartbreak if you taper down too much for it and get a mechanical during the race. I did a reasonable training week but still had to freshen up towards the weekend with a 185km race on the cards. On Monday I did a gym session in the morning, then headed out for 6 hours endurance on the bike. Tuesday and Wednesday I took easy; a three hour easy ride followed by a two hour social cafe ride. Then on Thursday I did 4 hours endurance in the morning before racing Mallory Park crit in the evening. I wanted to get a good workout in so rode aggressively, eventually forcing a breakaway of five riders. The break stuck and I managed to outsprint the others for the win. On Friday and Saturday I did 3 hours easy on both days, enough to keep my training volume ticking over whilst still being able to freshen up for Sunday.

On the day of the race I had rice crispies and plenty of coffee in the morning. Not much of a warm up was required for such a long race. I just spun my legs out on the way to the team presentation in Oakham. First few hours were just about staying out of trouble; working to position towards the front of the bunch to avoid being on the wrong side of splits or crashes. I tried to eat and drink well despite the bad weather. Once we hit the sectors it was just about managing the chaos, trying to find a smooth run through the farm tracks. I had 30mm Continental GP5000 tubeless tyres which really helped avoiding pinch flats, and being able to run them at 45psi during the race. I finished with just 15psi in my front tyre so I must have punctured and sealant sealed the hole, which was a lot better than having to change wheels. The convoy is so far back on narrow roads that it is virtually impossible to see the front of the race again if you puncture after the race hits the off-road sectors. 

Around 100km into the race and Cycling Sheffield still had 4 riders in the heavily reduced front group. However after another hour of racing, I found myself alone in a group of around 30 riders. Attacked started and I was able to follow moves comfortably. I realised others were not finding it so easy to follow, and it gave me confidence that I was as strong as anyone in the race that day. I attacked myself several times but the elastic never snapped. I narrowly lost the Pork Pie sprint on the line the first time into Melton Mowbray. Rory Townsend just pipped me, apolagising that "it was for his Dad's brithday next week!". As it became clear that it would be a reduced bunch sprint, I saved my legs in the last 8km or so, just working to stay out of the wind and eat any remaining food I had. I didn't follow anyone in particular in the sprint, prefering to ride my own sprint finish. I managed to hang on for 3rd place which I was delighted with. 

Big thanks to Moda for building such a fast and capable bike, I wouldn't have been there without them."


 Photos by Velo UK, Cycling Sheffield, Olivia Coukham

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