The Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic (UCI 1.2)
The team were doing the 10th edition of the Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic on the 27th April, which would be one of the team’s biggest races of the year. There were teams from as far afield as Paraguay. The run up to the race had seen a couple of days of rain which had made some of the off road sections very muddy. The team was using the American Classic deep section clinchers with the Kenda Kriterium tyres as this was a wider tyre and would be more suitable under the conditions. They were very good in the conditions and the riders were very happy with them. The weather was sunny for the race but that didn’t stop the carnage. The race started as 2 laps round Rutland water reservoir. The average speed was about 46kph and saw a lot of attacks. A small group of 8 riders managed to pull away by the time the race turned off the reservoir and ended up being the deciding break.
Along the narrow roads and farm tracks the bunch started to shrink in size as riders were shelled out the back, punctured or crashed. Unfortunately most the Spirit riders were caught out behind the chaos so it was game over for them. Only Chris continued along in the main bunch. After about 70 miles, Chris hit a pothole in the off road section which scuppered his chances of finishing in the main bunch. The team car was number 20 in the convoy so took a while to come through before the wheel could be changed. After some motor pacing to the back of the convoy it became clear that Chris wasn’t going to get back on because a group of 7 had got dropped from the bunch and the convoy was stuck behind them. The bunch was then about a minute up the road so there wasn’t much chance of him getting back on. The group worked well to try and minimise the lost time. The main aim was just to finish by getting to the finishing circuit within the time cut. The riders worked hard to get to the end and as they got to the finishing circuit it was clear that they had made the time cut, which was of relief to everyone. From this point there was only 25km to go and the leaders were about 10 minutes ahead. The group rode well together all the way to the finish but with 500m to go Chris jumped away from the group to try and get the group sprint only to have Henry Latimer from Catford CC come round him within the last 5m of the line.
The end result was that Chris got 74th out of 178 starters 14 mins down on the winner. When only 83 finished he was happy to get round. But there was a bit of disappointment that he couldn’t make it to the finish in the main group, but that will be the challenge for next year and hopefully a top 20 which could be possible if the team progresses as much as they have this year.