Parcours Strade wheels and Team Hutchinson-Brother UK were put to the test this weekend at the first Road National Series race of the UK calendar, The Cicle Classic, with riders proving the strength and depth of the team and the Strade’s their all-road performance ability once again.
As the UK's answer to the spring classics, The Cicle Classic weaves through the farmlands of Rutland with both on and off road sectors. We sat down with rider Sian Botteley to find out more about what it’s like to race Cicle and how the race went for the team.
What is Cicle Classic?
It was the first round of the National road series for the 2023 season and is 105km on rolling, narrow Rutland lanes including 7 off-road farm track like sectors.
Why is it so different from any other race on the British calendar?
Adding to the challenge of the narrow punchy roads, the course contains 7 off-road sectors, taking on farm tracks, mud and gravel throughout the race.
Was it different racing Cicle in March in comparison to June when it has been held previously?
It was very different racing it in March! Normally in June we have hot weather to deal with and the off road sectors are dry and dusty. This year, the race was overall a bigger challenge with the temperature in single digits and, after a couple of weeks of wet weather, the ordinary roads were wet and filthy and the off road sectors were covered in thick mud.
What were the conditions like on the day?
Although not much rain fell during the 3 hours we were racing, it rained all morning and all week leading up to it. It was also pretty cold which added to the difficulty of the race.
How did you feel going into the race?
I felt pretty confident going into the race, I know I’m on better form than I have been for a long time, and I knew the poor weather and road conditions would suit my strengths as a rider. I love a technical race that requires a lot of skill as well as strength. The team morale was also really high heading into the race after a strong performance at our first road race of the season, the Peaks 2 Day, where we had taken a stage win and the overall win with Tammy Miller, off the back of some really great teamwork.
Did you guys have a game plan for the day?
It’s hard to have a concrete plan for Cicle Classic because the nature of the race makes it so unpredictable and anything could have happened! So the main aims were to position well and stay out of trouble until we hit the off road where splits would naturally form. We had several cards to play with so much strength in depth in the team, with plans to soften the race up in the latter stages by attacking off the final off road sector. However most editions of the race have ended in a reduced bunch sprint of between 20 and 30 riders; we had planned a lead out for myself if this was the case.
How did the race go for you and the team?
Really well! We managed to get two riders, myself and Tammy, in the winning breakaway of six riders that got away about 35km into the race. We were the only team with more than one rider in the group which meant that we ended up doing too much work between us, we could definitely have used the three UCI continental riders more but we know that for next time. We were both pretty empty at the end of the race and came across the line 5th and 6th, 2 mins 30 ahead of the next group. Only 31 riders completed the full race out of 98 starters which shows how hard a day it was!
How did your Parcours Strade wheels perform?
The wheels were fantastic all round. The course is very rolling and they felt light and nimble while climbing, as well as stiff and fast accelerating out of the corners. The Cicle Classic throws in the extra difficulty of some really rough terrain and the wheels were faultless, they took some big hits on the rocks and potholes but stood up to the challenge perfectly!
It's been a great start to the year for the team and we are exciting to follow and support their journey over the next few months.