The CiCLE Classic throws up a peculiar mix. After 105 miles and eleven rough Rutland off-road sectors, where luck is as important as endurance, Britain’s only UCI-rated one-day race is decided by a right-hander 150 metres from the finish line.



It carries a simple and empirical rule at odds with the more unpredictable element of the rough road sectors – go through the corner in first position, and victory is virtually assured.



Dane Michael Berling knew this all too well after being jumped into the final turn by Ian Wilkinson last year. In 2008, he was also in the thick of the action, finishing fourth.



After making it through Rutland’s rough stuff in the decisive breakaway, Berling was not to be denied again. This time, he nailed the corner and took victory.



“I didn’t really have to tell Michael or Casper anything [pre-race],” said Glud & Marstrand team manager Michael Skelde. “Last year, Michael was like ‘I should have come first through that last corner, then maybe I would have beaten Wilkinson’ over and over again. He’s just been focusing on this race for a long, long time. He was so motivated.’



“When we were on the plane on Saturday, I could feel it. If we didn’t have any punctures or bad luck, I was sure we had a really good chance of winning.”



The race was itself decided before any of the off-road sectors that define the CiCLE Classic, England’s answer to Paris-Roubaix. When the twenty-odd breakaway escaped on the second loop of Rutland Water, alarm bells should have been ringing in the bunch.



Yet, despite coming close to the catch, the gap soon motored out again, and it was quickly game over – except for four men who saw the opportunity and bridged across.



“When Malcolm, Simon and Dan Craven [Will Bjergfelt joined them, only to be dropped later] came up, it was perfect. Not long after they got up to us us did we start to give it a bit more and be more selective about it. They had good legs as well,” third-placed Yanto Barker (Pendragon) commented.



Showing the hand that luck plays in this race, Elliott was to see his hopes cruelly dashed by a puncture at the top of the Somerberg, 27 miles from the finish.

 

After being whittled down to nine men, attacks abounded in the break. Sigma Sport had three men, Glud & Marstrand and Pendragon two, but ultimately none could make good their numerical advantage.



It wasn’t for lack of trying though.  “We put the digs in and everyone was still there,” Barker summed up, a wry note in his voice.



Great Dane


In the finale, it was down to Berling to take the corner and cross the line first, piggybacking Barker’s premature solo bid with 500 metres to go.



It’s quite a coup for the little Danish-based team, whose big target for the year remains their national tour in August.



“It’s our first UCI win this year, so we’re very happy. It’s always special to win a race, and this is the biggest and best race we’ve done this year,” said team manager Skelde.



Rest assured, there’ll be back for more rough stuff next year. Third in the race as a pro in 2007, former Alessio rider Skelde is a professed CiCLE Classic lover: “It’s an awesome race, a different kind of racing to Europe. When you go left after 50 kilometres, it’s just so intense.”

 

“When you’ve done it, you either love or hate it – and I really love it.”



WINNERS

Sigma Sport

Three in the front group is some feat, though they really should have turned their numerical advantage into a podium finish at the very least.



Glud & Marstrand

Talk about Great Danes; Kasper Jorgensen pushed the pace and covered the moves before super-motivated Berling delivered the coup de grâce.



Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago


Two in the top ten, the SW-based squad is punching above its weight.



LOSERS

Endura


Things simply didn’t work out for to plan for the Scottish squad, who were so impressive at the Tour DoonHame.



Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta

Their hopes punctured with Malc Elliott’s tyre. Must be due some good luck later in the year now.



RESULTS


East Midlands International CiCLE Classic 2010


1. Michael Berling (Glud & Marstrand) 168 kilometres in 4-14-19


2. Dan Craven (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)


3. Yanto Barker (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago)


4. Kasper Jorgensen (Glud & Marstrand)


5. Kit Gilham (Sigma Sport-Specialized)


6. Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport-Specialized)


7. Daniel Fleeman (Raleigh)


8. Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
 all same time

9. Steve Lampier (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago) at 30secs


10. Alexandre Blain (Endura Racing) at 2-28



SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE

The CiCLE Classic carries as much weight as the national championships in our prestigious ranking.



However, its impact is softened by the fact that victorious Viking visitors Glud & Marstrand’s first and fourth places don’t figure: British registered teams or riders only, sorry guys.



Nevertheless, thanks to Dan Craven’s second spot and Brucie Bonus five-pointer, Rapha have drawn level with rivals Endura, who failed to score.



The situation at the top of the leaderboard is coming to the boil nicely ahead of the Lincoln GP.



Meanwhile, Pendragon are off the mark, courtesy of Yanto Barker.

STANDINGS (updated)

Rapha-Condor-Sharp 39

Endura 39

Sigma Sport-Specialized 25

Team Sprocket 12

Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago 10

Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta 8

Wilier-Bigmaggys.com 6



BRUCIE BONUS

Five points to Rapha’s resident Namibian, Dan Craven.



Action-packed is an understated description of his race. Craven bridged across from the bunch at the right moment. Once he’d made it across, he punctured twice on the Somerberg within a few minutes.



Having had a change for the first flat at the bottom, he flatted again at the top, chasing for ten-odd kilometres to get back on. Chapeau and chapeau again.



Despite his bad luck, Craven’s post-race words proved that he’s definitely in the CiCLE Classic ‘love’ category.



“It’s such a lovely race. I definitely want to be come back here. It’s so different, unique. It really suits me, it’s tough and up and down and I really enjoyed it.”



Look out for the former African champion next year and, more imminently, at Lincoln in a fortnight’s time.



WINNERS

Sigma Sport-Specialized


Three in the front group is some feat, though they really should have turned their numerical advantage into a podium finish at the very least.



Glud & Marstrand


Talk about Great Danes; Kasper Jorgensen pushed the pace and covered moves before super-motivated Berling delivered the coup de grace.



Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago

Two in the top ten. The SW-based squad is punching above its weight.



LOSERS

Endura


Things simply didn’t work out for to plan for Endura, who were so impressive at the Tour DoonHame.



Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta


Their hopes punctured with Malc Elliott’s tyre. Must be due some good luck later in the year though.



Break hits Somerberg, East Midlands CiCLE Classic 2010

The breakaway hits the Somerberg



Michael Berling wins East Midlands CiCLE Classic 2010

Berling and team-mate Jorgensen celebrate their Classic win



Michael Berling wins, East Midlands CiCLE Classic 2010

The 2010 CiCLE Classic podium: Craven, Berling, Barker (l-r).



RELATED LINKS


Unlucky Elliott rues Rutland puncture


Michael Berling takes 2010 CiCLE Classic