Olympian Dame Laura Kenny to present prizes at this year's Women's CiCLE Classic

With a five-time Olympic cycling champion presenting the winners’ prizes and a current double World Junior Cycling Champion heading the list of starters the sixth edition of the Women’s CiCLE Classic looks to be the most open and unpredictable yet.

By Duncan Browne
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 12:00 am
Dame Laura Kenny will present the winner's prizes. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Dame Laura Kenny will present the winner's prizes. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Sunday’s race will feature its usual 105 kms course starting and finishing in the centre of Melton Mowbray.

A total of 127 starters will set out at 2pm on the circuitous route which will include six special sectors in and around the village of Owston as well as three registered climbs, before eventually returning to Melton around 4pm where the Melton Town sprint will be contested for the giant Pork Pie award, sponsored yet again by Dickinson & Morris.

The remaining competitors will then embark upon the 15km finishing circuit, taking in the final special sector of Sawgate Lane in advance of the finish proper in Sherrard Street around 4.30pm.

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With a £1,000 first prize to the winner, together with the newly-named Dame Laura Kenny Trophy, a bottle of local Brentingby Gin and the Winner’s Jersey from BioracerUK, the race offers the most valuable prize list on the UK domestic women’s race calendar.

"With the loss of our original race sponsor just 10 weeks before this year’s race, the event’s future, and that of the associated Junior Men’s race looked bleak,” asserted race director Colin Clews.

"However, a massive crowdfunding initiative supported by women’s rights groups as well as the cycling community, including British Cycling, has enabled us to continue for this year.

"The publicity that was created has also brought forward a three-year sponsorship deal which, together with support from Dame Laura Kenny, will safeguarded the races until 2025.”

Such is Dame Laura’s support of the event that she will be in Melton on Sunday for her first ever visit to the town to present the winner’s awards at both the Women’s and earlier Junior Men’s races.

She is also looking forward to sampling for the first time the experience of the Women’ s race from inside one of the following team cars - a very different experience from the more ordered environment of the many Olympic and World Championship velodromes where she has thrilled British fans with her performances over so many years.

With only one former winner, Rebecca Durrell, who won the first edition of the race in 2016 on the start list, the Women’s race looks to be the most open for many years.

Heading the list of potential winners must be double World Junior champion Zoe Backstedt who, as a

junior, has been denied Welsh selection for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, will have a point to prove.

Other notable entries are National Circuit race Champion Jo Tindley and Anna Kay, whose cyclo-cross experience could well come in handy on the trickier parts of the course.

But with many riders having come from a week of top class racing at the recent Women’s Tour of Britain a surprise winner could well come to the top of the quality laden field.

Last year Abi Smith won after a long range attacking move which saw her ride the final 40km of the race solo.

Can someone emulate that feat in 2022? On Sunday we will find out.

Earlier in the day, starting at 9.30am, 112 of the brightest and best Junior Men’s talent in the UK will cover the same course.

Whilst many of the riders in that event will be new to it, an outstanding favourite this year comes in the form of Josh Tarling, who was third in 2021.

This year Tarling has impressed in virtually all the races he has ridden.

On Sunday he will wear number one.

Both races once again form part of British Cycling’s National Road Race Series for their respective categories.

Additional support for the event will be provided by Melton BID, Schwalbe UK, Bioracer UK, Moores

Estate Agents, Pearce’s Jewellers, A&R Signs, Brentingby Gin and Dickinson & Morris.