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Cicle Classic Map 2019

Pre-Race blog by RideRevolution coached athlete Oli Bates

For anyone that doesn’t know, the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic is one of the hardest races to win on the UK calendar and is part of the UCI Europe Tour. Not necessarily one of the hardest because it has a lot of climbing (although the bergs are aptly named) and not because it’s particularly fast (although the first and last part of the race is usually full gas), but because you need everything on your side on race day.

You need, in no order:

  • Endurance – it’s a long old race, with this year coming just short of the UCI 200km limit for this sort of event.
  • Leg speed – when the group starts to split you need to be able to make sure you’re on the right side of it.
  • Bike handling – having to ride over some sketchy “sectors” you almost need to feel like your bike is an extension of you. I can tell you that it helps to have some Pidcock type skills in your locker.
  • The right weather – too cold/wet and you half your chances of even finishing (there was a year with only 13 riders finishing due to the wind and rain), too hot and you’ll need to double your fluid intake and you risk getting heatstroke.
  • Enough of the right help – having help on the day is a must for every single rider and the more of the “right” help you have the less you as the rider have to overthink things.
  • Luck – a whole lot of luck. You can get everything right with your training, but if you puncture at the wrong time, or someone goes down in front of you causing you to lose contact with the front of the race you can kiss goodbye to your chances.

I’ve started the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic twice before, so I wasn’t going into the race completely blind, however I hadn’t completed it. Last year I competed with the Central Region Team, a group of riders set up for the sole purpose of racing in the CiCLE. And the year before I raced for Wellingborough Cycles RT.

Having only recently joined RideRevolution I really appreciated looking at my training for the event in a new way. It helped knowing that my new coach has been to the CiCLE Classic many times before and got round, whilst normally doing a duty for a team leader. And so, I went into the start of this edition with my best chance of making it round the full distance.

As this is a UCI event my team manager for Flamme Rouge Race Team had to go and sign us on and get the convoy draw order the night before. It’s always a bit of a lottery what team car number you’ll get as unless you’re a UCI registered team you’re put into the hat with every club and team that has a car available. This year we would be lucky number 25… Essentially if your team car is not able to get up to you if you have an issue then you have to wait for the long snaking line of cars until your Director Sportif/Mechanic can come to your aid.

Our 4 man team would be as follows:

  • Will Scott – participated in the CiCLE a number of times and completed the race last year, finishing in 46th place. Will is an Elite rider who specialises in early breakaways, and always pulls some big turns.
  • Matt Exley – also participated in the CiCLE a number of times and finished last year in 69th A 1st category rider with a lot of experience in circuit races.
  • Matt Humpage – first time at the CiCLE. At one point last year he topped the UK Cyclocross standings.
  • Me – third time at the CiCLE.

Oli Bates

Cicle bikes







You can see we had a real mix within our team. And so the only thing we had left to do was get ourselves to the race HQ on Sunday 28th April 2019 to start the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic.