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East Midlands International CiCLE Classic - 1.2

Great Britain, April 29, 2007

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Classic win for Elliott

By Gerry McManus

Happy bunny - Elliott wins.
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

It's true what they say about form being temporary and class being permanent and Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello) continues to have both. The Sheffield professional was ecstatic as he unleashed his powerful sprint into Melton Mowbray, holding off the challenge from Ian Wilkinson (SIS) in the final 200m to win the UK's only UCI ranked one-day race.

Twenty years ago Elliott finished third in the Amstel Gold race, took third in stage 12 of the Tour de France, won three stages of the Nissan Classic cycle race and took five stages and overall victory in the Milk Race. Now, as he approaches his 47th birthday, he's still winning top class races and no one is more surprised than he is. Elliott used all his years of valuable experience to stay at the front of the race and was in the right position when the peloton hit the special sections of rough road stuff.

"I didn't want to count my chickens but I knew I had good form in the last couple of weeks or so," said Elliott. "I felt it coming but I never dared to expect a result like this today. The race thinned out towards the end but there were still a lot of guys there that I didn't know. The finish worked out like a dream. We were three abreast round that last corner and I was on the inside and only had one person to get past in the finish."

There was a double celebration as Pinarello won the team award to add to the ones they took home from the Girvan 3-day and the Shay Elliott Memorial race in Ireland where Elliott was the individual winner too.

"The older you get, the more you appreciate the wins," continued Elliott. "This win today feels as good as any win I have had. I will be basking in this one for quite a while I think."

How it unfolded

The bunch ambles along
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The race rolled out from Oakham at 11am in a wind-chilled temperature of 12 degrees C. The first couple of circuits around the Rutland Water lakes were billed as parade laps but no-one told the early break who took nearly two minutes out of the main field who lacked early ambition in the four-hour race.

The break included Roy Chamberlain (Alpha Team Corley), Matt Talbot (Rapha), Norway's Preben Kristensen (Sparebanken Vest), Daniel Booth (BC East Midlands/Development Agency), Daffyd Dylan (KFS Special Vehicles), Denmark's Kasper Schjonnemann (Glud & Marstrand Horsens), Matt Stephens (Sigma Sport), Matthew Higgins (Alpha Team Corley) and Slovakian Jan Sipeky (Dukla Trencin Merida).

The bunch behind appeared unworried by the riders who had escaped and the pace dropped dramatically until the race reached the first of the small lanes on the climb up to Cold Overton. Gaps in the main field were opening and riders were losing contact but the pace dropped again and they were able to rejoin quickly. All the main contenders were keeping a close eye on each other in the bunch.

Mark Cavendish chases
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Back on the main road it was Elliott, Wayne Randall (Sports Cover-Planet X) and pre-race favourite Gordon McCauley (Plowman Craven) who were attempting to raise the pace and escape the clutches of the lethargic bunch. Premier calendar series leader Chris Newton ( was in close attendance.

The race was warming up and the weather reciprocated as the sun came out to bring temperatures up to over 20 C. The race was all together at half distance but not for long. As the wind assisted field flew down towards the feeding zone the gaps were appearing on the narrow bumpy road and the race winning break started to evolve. The dust flew up behind the leaders and the chasers began to look like Paris-Roubaix contestants. Punctures had ended the hopes of Newton and Dean Downing (Rapha) who finished behind the lead group.

Sixteen riders had gone clear including Elliott, Wilkinson, McCauley, Andrew Roche (Pinarello RT) and last year's winner Rob Sharman (KFS Special Vehicles). The terrain continued to undulate and the pace was a little inconsistent. Kristensen had made it into this break too and he attacked the leaders on a long drag on the main road but Matt Stephens responded quickly. Stephens continued his effort when he passed the Norwegian to either go clear or pick the pace up and his frustration was vocally extended to his breakaway companions.

Wilkinson and Elliott
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

With just under 30km to go the race left the country lane loops and headed up the infamous Somerberg ascent. Last year the farm track was muddy and caused problems for many riders and camera motorbikes but this year's unseasonably warm weather made it easier for David Clarke (unattached) as he defied gravity to reach the top first with Stephens a little behind. The race was on in earnest and leaders had built an unassailable lead - providing they didn't play too much cat and mouse stuff on the run in to the Melton Mowbray. Clarke suffered a puncture on the descent and had to put in a big effort to rejoin the front runners.

With 15km to go, the leaders reached the village of Whissendine. Down the hill and around a sharp turn and up a sharp climb on the main road. McCauley saw his chance as the pace dropped and he went from back to front in a sweet move and opened a 100m gap in no time. No-one seemed keen to chase and when the lead opened to nearly twenty seconds it looked like McCauley would pull it off.

The race podium
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Finally it was Elliott who reacted first and was joined by the strong Slovakian Sipeky and John Charlesworth to share the pace. This forced the hand of the rest with the group merging to chase McCauley down. The New Zealander was dropped on the final rough road section which combined a sort of round stone cobble with loose gravel liberally scattered with pot holes.

Then over the bridge into town and one final 90 degree turn to the last 200m to a good crowd of spectators who were treated to a fantastic bunch sprint with Elliott the popular winner. Wilkinson's second place also brings him leadership in the British Cycling Premier series overall.

The race is the culmination of much planning by race organiser Colin Clews and his team of volunteer helpers and of course the UCI and BC race officials. This one should be a European classic.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Gerry McManus/


1 Malcolm Elliott (GBr) Pinarello Racing Team                   3.58.15
2 Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Science in Sport                                 
3 Michael Skelde (Den) Glud & Marstrand Horsens                    0.01
4 Kasper Schjonnemann (Den) Glud & Marstrand Horsens                   
5 Maros Kovac (Svk) Dukla Trencin Merida                               
6 Alex Dowsett (GBr) VC Meudon                                         
7 Robin Sharman (GBr) KFS Special Vehicles                         0.02
8 Jan Sipeky (Svk) Dukla Trencin Merida                                
9 Preben Kristensen (Nor) Sparebanken Vest                             
10 David Clarke (GBr) Sportscover/Planet X                             
11 Liam Holoham (GBr) Merlin Racing Team                               
12 Gordon Mcauley (GBr) Plowman Craven/Evans Cycles                0.09
13 John Charlesworth (GBr)                                         0.16
14 Andy Roche (GBr) Pinarello Racing Team                          0.26
15 Matthew Stephens (GBr) SigmaSport                               0.27
16 Chris Newton (GBr)                              1.14
17 Mark Lovatt (GBr) Sportscover/Planet X                          1.27
18 Richard Wilkinson (GBr) Rapha-Condor                            1.38
19 Pavol Polievka (Svk) Dukla Trencin Merida                       1.53
20 Alex Atkins (GBr) Glendene CC/Biketrax                          1.59
21 Sondre Sortveit (Nor) Sparebanken Vest                          2.42
22 Lee Davis (GBr) Pinarello Racing Team                           2.44
23 Simon Richardson (GBr) Ashfield RC/ GoSports /Trek VW/Subaru    2.47
24 Germ Van Der Berg (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam           4.44
25 Tom Barras (GBr) Merlin Racing Team                                 
26 Roy Chamberlain (GBr) Alpha Team Corley Cycles                  4.45
27 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Isle of Man National Team                  5.21
28 Patrik Tybor (Svk) Dukla Trencin Merida                             
29 Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha-Condor                                     
30 Matt Talbot (GBr) Rapha-Condor                                      
31 Philip Dixon (GBr) Science in Sport                                 
32 Alex Thompson (GBr) Glendene CC/Biketrax                        5.22
33 Simon Holt (GBr)                                5.29
34 Tom Murray (GBr) Team Kinesis-Bike&Run                              
35 James Sampson (GBr) Team Kinesis-Bike&Run                       5.30
36 Tom Andre Enaes (Nor) Sparebanken Vest                          5.31
37 Matthew Holmes (GBr) Arctic/ Shorter Rochford RT                    
38 Geoff Beetham (GBr) BC East Midlands/Development Agency         5.36
39 John Tanner (GBr) Sportscover/Planet X                              
40 Daniel Booth (GBr) BC East Midlands/Development Agency          5.53
41 Gareth Hewitt (GBr) KFS Special Vehicles                            
42 James Cambridge (GBr) BC East Midlands/Development Agency           
43 Chris Mcnamara (GBr) Wildside RT/Ewhurst Control                6.24
44 Matthew Kipling (GBr) Heron Cyclesport-Inkland                  8.49
45 Matt Clinton (GBr) BC West Midlands                            11.12
46 Robert Hayles (GBr) International composite Team               15.08
47 Ryan Henry (GBr) BC East Midlands/Development Agency           15.51
48 James Stewart (GBr) KFS Special Vehicles                            
49 Julian Rammler (Ger) PZ Racing Aachen                               
50 David Singelton (GBr)                                               
51 Wayne Randle (GBr) Sportscover/Planet X                             
52 Ryan Bonser (GBr)                                   
53 Matthew Cronshaw (GBr) Science in Sport                        16.43
54 Raymond Rol (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam                     
55 Anders Lund (Nor) Sparebanken Vest                                  
56 Tom Kirk (GBr) Alpha Team Corley Cycles                             
57 Branislav Zachar (Svk) Dukla Trencin Merida                         
58 Hugo Sijm (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam                       
59 Jon Mozley (GBr) Merlin Racing Team                            22.09
60 Brian Biggs (GBr) Plowman Craven/Evans Cycles                       
61 Gary Hand (GBr) KFS Special Vehicles                                
62 David Mclean (GBr) Heron Cyclesport-Inkland                         
63 Daffyd Dylan (GBr) KFS Special Vehicles                             
64 Ross Muir (GBr) Rapha-Condor                                        
65 Simon Wilson (GBr) Arctic/ Shorter Rochford RT                      
66 Christian Tune (GBr) SigmaSport                                36.37