The Cicle Classic is always a great race which offers lots of excitement over the 180km mixed terrain course. After a great team effort from all riders Alex Paton managed to clinch 12th overall, a report below written by Alex talks us through how it went.
Having been excited all week the time had finally come to race Rutland Cicle Classic. Gruff, Rory, Simon, Stevie, Max and myself we all in for a treat as the weather had been kind enough to stay dry on the day and give ideal conditions for the many off road sectors this unique race has to offer.
180km awaited the 170 or so riders and made for some very fast racing on the opening two laps of the reservoir with attacks constantly going and coming back. For the first time in a few years, the race headed to the first narrow section and KOM as one very large peloton. The last few Km into the narrowing was like the run into the finish of most races. Riding well as a team we all placed well into the first narrow section and avoided the carnage behind. We soon placed ourselves up towards the front of the race in the mix with the many UCI teams.
As the race progressed though the many varying loops, farm tracks and punchy climbs we still had a good team presence towards the front. This was a very good position to be in and by half way a very large number of riders had lost contact with the peloton of the race due to punctures, crashes or simply unable to deal with the tough pace and demanding circuit.
With a small group of 5 gone clear and riders looking reluctant to chase, gruff and I took to the front and tried to start a chase. A tough challenge with just the two of us, but eventually the pace lifted and people began to race hard again.
Through one of the farm track the front of the race really exploded and soon the lead group was caught. From this point the race continued to make good progress having formed a lead group of 50 or so. As more farm tracks came up, more and more riders were lost to punctures, having survived the tough selection, Gruff, Stevie, Max and I were still in the race. Unfortunately Rory and Simon had not made it, a shame as both have been riding very well in the past few weeks.
Coming into the closing stages of the race the lead group had become even smaller and we had lost Stevie to a puncture and Max caught up with a crash. With approx. 25km to the finish 3 riders had a small advantage and looked to be progressing well. The front of the race didn’t seem to be wanting to chase with many riders tiring, including myself. I took a big gamble and decided I would try and bridge across the gap and prey the group stays away as it would take a huge effort to make it there. After a very tough few minutes chasing I had made the group and we eventually extended the lead to 45s at most, eventually getting caught with 7km to go due to One Pro and Madison using their whole team to chase.
Into the final rough section Gruff and I were still in the front group and well positioned. Unfortunately Gruff punctured along with many others, but still managed to finish in the second group. I survived in the lead group and with almost no legs I managed to hang on to finish 12th, a very respectable result, but a little disappointing after a top 4 looked possible, but that’s just how it works some days. I did however manage to win possibly the biggest pork pie ever, which was an interesting prize to say the least.
A very tough race, but one hell of an experience. A great weekend racing with great support from everyone who came along to help!
On to the next one…….Wilton GP