Ronde van Rutland

I had the pleasure of sitting in on an interview with British cycling (small ‘c’) stalwart Colin Clews (big ‘C’ x 2) a week or two ago as he spoke to Always Riding.

As well as being a commissaire at races of all sizes (TdF, Giro) he’s organised the Cicle Classic road race, which up until this year has been a UCI 1.2 event on the men’s spring calendar.

2016 sees the first running of a women’s event, which takes place in July on many of the same roads as the men’s. (To run it on the same day/weekend as the men’s race is impossible – you’d have to lose the junior event to manage it, as Melton Mowbray can’t just close down on a Saturday).

As well as a few images from the interview itself – which were a bit limited because the man’s recovering from a back operation and so I couldn’t march him out to anything of a “location” – we went up to look at the course for July…

Cuckoo Hill is a road that doesn’t feature in the men’s event, but comes about 3 miles after the flag goes down:

Cuckoo Hill

It could be a short race for some of the riders. Much like the time I went out the back on Axe Edge in the Tour of The Peak (the year Paul Manning won… was it 2005?) which came after about 2 miles.

Those who are still left after the climb and fast decent – which is a bit smoother than the way up but not perfect – move up into the Owston/Somerberg part of Leicestershire, which will be familiar to many:

Heavy roads everywhere

Owston Sector

What I’d be particularly worried about if I were riding is less the Flanders-like front and middle of the race, but more the Roubaix-like last 10km. Fast, flat (when it’s not downhill and off road) and potholed, Sawgate Lane was a struggle for the Opodo delivery van who interrupted my shooting to bump over the ‘road’.

Dust may replace puddles by July, of course

Dust may replace puddles by July, of course

Sawgate Lane - Sector 1, the last before the finish

Sawgate Lane – Sector 1, the last before the finish

Exciting race. I believe it’s a domestic event but there’ll no doubt be some international teams come over to try to take the £1,000 prize money. At least the Olympic Games will take away some of the real top riders – so it might be a wide open race.

The full interview and article can be found here. Some interesting comments on drugs in there too.