Big Irish contingent for UCI-ranked Rutland Melton Classic
The Rutland Melton has many ‘special sectors’; unpaved parts of the course adding to its severity. Conor Dunne won it last year and has since gone on to ProConinental level with Aqua Blue Sport.
By Brian Canty
There will be a strong Irish contingent racing the Rutland-Melton Ciclo Classic in the UK this Sunday. No fewer than nine Irish riders are taking part.
The flying Damien Shaw and Sean McKenna are scheduled to be part of a very strong An Post-ChainReaction team. It also includes Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz, Jacob Scott, Bas Tietema and Massimo Vanderaerden.
And in the Cycling Ulster team is Chris McGlinchey, Angus Fyffe, Craig Rea, Jake Gray and Lindsay Watson.
Robert Jon McCarthy (JLT Condor) and Marc Potts (Neon Velo) are the other two Irishmen in the field.
The race is ranked a 1.2 and features a contingent of top UK-based Continental teams. They include JLT Condor, Madison Genesis, Raleigh–GAC, ONE Pro Cycling and Team Wiggins amongst others.
Also down to race are the VCUK Velochampion team that competed at Kerry group Ras Mumhan.
They went home with the yellow jersey courtesy of Dillon Byrne.
Stage winner and yellow jersey wearer Tom Mazzone will ride for the Metaltek-KUOTA team. It includes Dan Fleeman in its ranks.
Sean McKenna, above, and Damien Shaw have just come out of the Tour du Loir et Cher (2.2). Shaw held the yellow jersey and won a stage and McKenna rode very hard in defence of the lead. If they start for An Post on Sunday, as scheduled, they are well capable of big performances.
Conor Dunne, now with Aqua Blue Sport, is the defending champion. But he’s obviously not back this year to defend his title.
Some riders who should contend are Russell Downing (JLT Condor), Johnny McEvoy (Madison Genesis), Steele Van Hoff (ONE Pro Cycling) and Chris Latham (Team Wiggins).
The race is 189km and with 180 riders competing on some really difficult terrain it will make for quite a spectacle.
The Irish representation has little or no experience of the contest. Shaw was a DNF last year and Potts finished in a group over seven minutes down.
11 unpaved ‘special sectors’
It’s a real test of strength and skill. Aside from the gruelling length of the race there are 11 ‘special sectors’. They are unpaved or off-road sections.
The longest of these is 2.2km but most are graded as 5-star severity by the race organisers.
Upwards of 20 nationalities are represented in the start-list. That serves to underline the regard with which the race is held.
There’s a generous first prize of €2,500 and as it’s just one of five UCI-ranked races in the UK.