A beautiful day for a bike race, the team gathered in Oakham East Midlands for the 13th Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic.
183km stood between the 180 strong peloton and the finish line including 15.7km of gruelling dirt and gravel off road sectors. Rolling out of Oakham at 11am, riders took in two laps of Rutland Water during the early stages of the race, where the bunch managed to stay together despite speeds of up to 60kph!
As the race hit the first sector of the day at Barley Thorpe and the peloton found themselves on heavy gravel roads, it was ‘The Dude’ Kristian House who was first out of the sector and shortly after slid into a breakaway of 8 riders. This group held an advantage of between 1 – 2 minutes for the next 15kms but unfortunately for House following his second puncture he was dropped from the leading group and re-joined the peloton shortly afterwards. With no riders in the breakaway ONE Pro Cycling took up the chase reducing the gap quickly to just 40” at which point Karol Domagalski tried to jump clear to what now was a leading group of 4 as they headed into the back end of the race.
Not willing to let Domagalski join the break, the peloton worked hard to bring back the Polish Powerhouse but before Domagalski had time to settle back into the peloton, ONE Pro Cycling once again took up the chase at the front with 25kms remaining. The peloton was now all back together, however only around 40 riders remained with the rest having been split off in the chaos of the narrow gravel sectors and the hard gruelling ascents.
Inside the last 20km both Steele Von Hoff and Tom Stewart suffered punctures causing the team to quickly change tactics. Meanwhile Matt Holmes of Madison Genesis put in an impressive attack to go clear of the other leaders, as Hayden McCormick and Dan Fleeman (Metaltek Kuota) bridged across to the lone leader, building a small advantage of 30 seconds. As the intensity of the race continued to build Holmes (Madison Genesis) was dropped with 5km to go, it was then left to McCormick and Fleeman to battle it out for victory. As both riders surged up through the finishing funnel with the remains of the peloton starting to appear in the distance, it was Dan Fleeman (Metaltek Kuota) who pipped McCormick to the post after a hard day in the saddle.