“This was the best one yet”, was a phrase that was echoed throughout the large crowds that gathered both along route and at the finish.
The 12th edition of the CiCLE Classic was always billed to be an exciting race and the 11 sectors of dirt/gravel/farm tracks provided exactly that, excitement.
From the off the pace was high and it remained that way until the end of the 179km.
After two laps of Rutland water the race entered the “berg” sections of the race and JLT-Condor p/b Mavic didn’t hold back.
The team remained active near the front and worked well to push the pace as the race worked its way through Owston.
After the first passing of Borrough-on-the-hill, the team’s, Conor Dunne found himself coming through the first time of Manor Farm on his own.
With other teams taking up the pace, Dunne was caught before the second Hot Spot Sprint but moved back into a supporting position for the rest of the team.
As the race entered the famous Somerberg for the first time, Chris Lawless and Russ Downing was setting the pace to reduce the gap to the lone leader and the back of the race was already splitting into pieces.
The speed at the front was relentless and again saw splits in the field continue but was quickly brought back in.
“Lots of moves were going and I thought one with Russ in was going to stick” Explained Conor Dunne.
“Then they got brought back with 10km to go and me and Chris Lawless slipped away into a break of eight riders”
All eyes were fixed on the team’s sprinter, Lawless and with Dunne helping set the pace, Lawless looked in a good position to sprint for the win.
However, at 2km out, Dunne turned on the burners and raised the speed, which saw him gap the rest of his breakaway.
“I didn’t mean to attack, I saw a good opportunity with 2km to go and just rolled off and managed to build a gap so I just went for it and rode as hard as I could. I thought I was going to blow up 1km out but i was determined and just pushed as hard as I could.”
Dunne came over the line 14 seconds ahead of Gruffud Lewis of Madison Genesis and teammate, Chris Lawless coming in third.
“After a lot of hard work over the last few months, I’m so, so happy to take the win…and the team came into the race all going really well so we was all eager and it made it a lot easier for each other.”
With Russ Downing coming in 12th position, JLT-Condor p/b Mavic also took home the team prize.
1 Conor DUNNE JLT Condor pb Mavic 4h48’30”
2 Gruffudd LEWIS Madison- Genesis @ +14 seconds
3 Christopher LAWLESS JLT Condor pb Mavic @ +24 seconds