We always like to celebrate great rides by great riders, particularly when they’re friends or we feel a connection with them for one reason or another, so when VeloVeritas regular James McCallum (Rapha Condor Sharp) bagged third place in the super-tough UCI Europe Tour-ranked Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic yesterday, we knew we had to find out what happened.

We interrupted James’ bike cleaning session today to get the low-down on his great result…

James (L) on the podium, with Blain and Sparling. Image©Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net

Your old teammates in Endura piled on a ferocious pace right from the start?

“Yeah, I knew that would be the case so I stuck near to them…

Did you make the initial split of over 20 riders?

“Yes, I went across with Zak Dempster.”

“I think the ended up with four Endura guys in the first split.”

You’d go into a race like this expecting there to be lots of crashes and mechanicals – was it like that?

“It was pretty chaotic once you hit the unpaved sectors, but you have to be ready for anything and be proactive all the time.

“I spent the race just telling myself ‘go forward, race from the front’.”

The road surfaces and weather wasn’t exactly great – only 22 finishers and 132 non-finishers!

“It was kinda hit and miss.

“The Somerberg was actually better than last year when it was dry, and other sections were worse.

“Just shows that the weather plays such a key role in races like this.”

You were doing the ‘Merckx thing’ and riding without gloves?

“Ha ha, yeah, I’m weird as I actually like the cold and wet conditions – I felt like I was riding a ‘cross race!

“But in all honestly once I took them off I felt like a racer – they were also making my hands colder due to them holding about a litre of water each!”

James, on the left of the shot, pushes the pace on the unpaved section. Image©Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net

You were the one to attack out of the chasers to go after Blain?

“Well yes, I had attacked before the climb.

“I looked back and he was sprinting flat out so I tried to match him and was holding him.

“I had a look down at my computer which said 40km to go so I thought ‘let him hang in the wind and the group should be able to hold him’.

“However, we got over the climb and it was only myself, Pete Williams and eventually Jamie Sparling that were doing any pulling.

“Then the commisaire moto came up and shouted that the course had been shortened due to flooding of the final sector and it was now only 20km to go…

“I then knew that I had to go, but ran outta road (and luck, with the late puncture)…C’ést la vie.”

Blain’s a quality rider, isn’t he?

“Alex is class. “You don’t ride for Cofidis if your a numpty. “I think Endura have also given him a new lease of life and I’m happy for him.”

Then you punctured just a few k’s from the finish…

“Hmm, yeah, that was my second puncture of the day – and at the worst moment.

“To rub salt in to the wound it happened on the smoothest bit of road on the course!”

Do you reckon you were good for second place if it hadn’t been for that?

“Yes, I was pretty confident of that.

“I had had a quick wheel change, but I still lost around thirty seconds by the time I got going again.

“I chased back to within four bike-lengths in the end, but it wasn’t quite enough.”

James leads the break on the Somerberg. Image©Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net

We’ve spoken to you recently and you were saying you had a great winter – do you think you’re starting to reap the benefits now?

“Definitely, I just hope this is the hard work starting to pay off.”

How was Normandy?   Looked pretty tough…

“Pretty brutal to be honest!

“It was my first real race of the year, with 1000km at an average speed of 45kph… go figure.”

The Tour Series kicks off in Scotland in a fortnight, you excited about that?

“Aw man, I canny wait!

“It’s been a long time coming to Scotland so should be a great night.”

Is the Tour Series a major target for the team?

“For sure.

“It’s probably one of my main goals this year, I’d love to win a round.”

It’s pretty full-on, with 11 events in the space eight weeks – you won’t have much time to train, with travelling and racing and recovering…

“Nah,  it’s pretty much race and rest really.

“You need to do all the hard work before the Series so you’re ready and it’s ‘in the bank’.

“Then you just have to be careful how you ‘spend your pennies’.”

How are the youngsters in the team shaping up?

“They’re doing really well – in particular the two Aussies and Rich Handley, they have stepped up right away and I’m pretty sure that the others will raise a few eyebrows before the end of the season.

“They listen and want to learn, which is a massive bonus.

“It’s also great to work with such a talented group.”

What’s the plan for the next couple of weeks and beyond?

“I’ve got a few races up here on my build-up to the Tour Series, then it’s the usual National series crits, Smithfield and so on.

“I’ve actually not thought any further ahead than that though, bu I do know I’ll be hitting the track and ‘cross hard over the winter!”

With special thanks to Larry Hickmott at VeloUK.net for the use of the his images.

Heeere's Jimmy! Image©Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net

Result - Rutland - Melton International CiCLE Classic 2012

Full List of Finishers (22 riders!)

1 BLAIN Alexander Endura Racing 04:36:33
2 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC @1:59
3 McCALLUM James Rapha Condor Sharp @2:02
4 ERLER Tobias Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss @2:39
5 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth @2:57
6 WILLIAMS Pete Node 4 – Giordana Racing @4:40
7 SYBRANDY Wouter IG – Sigma Sport @5:30
8 CAMANO Iker Endura Racing st
9 ADAMS Stephen CyclePremier @7:19
10 SMAIL Robert Team Wallis CHH st
11 JORGENSEN Kasper Linde Glud & Marstrand – LRO @7:23
12 BACKSTEDT Magnus Team UK Youth st
13 NICHOLSON Michael Asfra-Flanders @8:32
14 DOWNING Russell Endura Racing @13:44
15 BJERGFELT William CyclePremier @16:29
16 BIALOBLOCKI Marcin Node 4 – Giordana Racing st
17 BRIGGS Graham Raleigh – GAC @18:57
18 HAWDON Andrew Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes st
19 HOLT Simon Raleigh – GAC st
20 HOLOHAN Liam Raleigh – GAC @19:15
21 SULZBERGER Bernard Raleigh – GAC st
22 NORTHEY Mike Node 4 – Giordana Racing st

The rest (132 riders!!)

Didn’t Start
DNS 134 JENNINGS Matt BC East Midlands
DNS 138 WHITEHEAD Zak Dirtwheels Cycles
DNS 161 NICHOLS Dave Loughborough University Team

Didn’t Finish
DNF 1 DEMPSTER Zakkari Endura Racing
DNF 2 VOSS Paul Endura Racing
DNF 5 WILKINSON Ian Endura Racing
DNF 7 BERLING Michael CyclePremier
DNF 10 MOZLEY Jon CyclePremier
DNF 11 FALDER Russell CyclePremier
DNF 12 MOORE George CyclePremier
DNF 13 MOSS James Node 4 – Giordana Racing
DNF 15 HIGGINS Matt Node 4 – Giordana Racing
DNF 17 CLARKE David Node 4 – Giordana Racing
DNF 22 OLIPHANT Evan Raleigh – GAC
DNF 25 ROSSI Oliver Rapha Condor Sharp
DNF 26 CLANCY Edward Rapha Condor Sharp
DNF 27 ENGLISH Feilix Rapha Condor Sharp
DNF 28 GRIVELL-MELLOR Luke Rapha Condor Sharp
DNF 31 FIELD Ian Hargroves Cycles – Trant
DNF 32 CRAWFORTH Jody Hargroves Cycles – Trant
DNF 33 HARGROVES Andrew Hargroves Cycles – Trant
DNF 34 JAMES Steve Hargroves Cycles – Trant
DNF 35 OSTERGAARD Niki Glud & Marstrand – LRO
DNF 37 GADE JACOBSEN Mathias Glud & Marstrand – LRO
DNF 38 STEREBO Rasmus Brandstrup Glud & Marstrand – LRO
DNF 41 NORLEDGE Joe Velo 29 OTR Vankru
DNF 42 MARK Christopher Velo 29 OTR Vankru
DNF 43 SMITH Dan Velo 29 OTR Vankru
DNF 44 ORR Rob Velo 29 OTR Vankru
DNF 45 MOYE Anthony Velo 29 OTR Vankru
DNF 50 GUSTAVSSON Niklas Team UK Youth
DNF 51 STEVENSSON Christopher Team UK Youth
DNF 53 TANGUY Richard Team UK Youth
DNF 55 JOHANSSON Freddy Team UK Youth
DNF 56 THOMAS Simon KTM – Murcia
DNF 57 PEREZ Juan Miguel KTM – Murcia
DNF 58 RIENDA Juan Carlos KTM – Murcia
DNF 59 CASARUBIO GARCIA Oscar KTM – Murcia
DNF 60 GONZALEZ Hugo KTM – Murcia
DNF 61 ROBLES FERNANDEZ Marcos KTM – Murcia
DNF 62 BULTINCK Jimmy Deschuytter-Westkerke
DNF 63 VOLCKAERT Tom Deschuytter-Westkerke
DNF 64 DELAMEILLEURE Mathias Deschuytter-Westkerke
DNF 65 LAPIERRE Ward Deschuytter-Westkerke
DNF 66 LIBBRECHT Emmanuel Deschuytter-Westkerke
DNF 67 VANDERMEIREN Ward Deschuytter-Westkerke
DNF 74 BOWATER Perry Asfra-Flanders
DNF 75 BARNES Michael Asfra-Flanders
DNF 76 HEATHCOTE Richard Asfra-Flanders
DNF 77 CATHAWAY Justin Asfra-Flanders
DNF 80 GUCWA Zbigniew CMI – Trilogy Group
DNF 81 JULLIEN Sebastian CMI – Trilogy Group
DNF 82 GBR!GREEN Simeon CMI – Trilogy Group
DNF 83 SOULA Guillaume CMI – Trilogy Group
DNF 84 SIX Marcel Metaltek – Scott
DNF 85 APPLEBY Dale Metaltek – Scott
DNF 86 GEE Matt Metaltek – Scott
DNF 87 BARRAS Tom Metaltek – Scott
DNF 88 LLOYD Rhys Metaltek – Scott
DNF 89 GULLEN James Metaltek – Scott
DNF 90 RICHARDSON Simon IG – Sigma Sport
DNF 91 LAST Tom IG – Sigma Sport
DNF 92 LLOYD Daniel IG – Sigma Sport
DNF 93 CRAVEN Dan IG – Sigma Sport
DNF 94 LAMPIER Steven IG – Sigma Sport
DNF 97 REITER Daniel Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
DNF 99 GROMER Philipp Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
DNF 100 GOGL Michael Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
DNF 101 DURAGER Alexander Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
DNF 102 REID Stuart Wheelbase-MGB
DNF 103 PENN William Wheelbase-MGB
DNF 105 PULLAR Jack Wheelbase-MGB
DNF 106 GREENHALGH Tony Wheelbase-MGB
DNF 107 GILHAM Kit Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes
DNF 109 HASSAN Robbie Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes
DNF 110 COUPE Andrew Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes
DNF 111 CUTSFORTH Jack Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes
DNF 112 SHIRLAW Jamie Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes
DNF 113 GREENWOOD Ben Vanillabikes.com
DNF 114 BYRNE Dillon Vanillabikes.com
DNF 115 RUTHERFORD Alistair Vanillabikes.com
DNF 116 GREY Harry Vanillabikes.com
DNF 117 FINN Ashley Vanillabikes.com
DNF 118 MURISON Al Performance Cycles CMI U23
DNF 119 HOTCHKISS Todd Performance Cycles CMI U23
DNF 120 RYAN Connor Performance Cycles CMI U23
DNF 122 DUNBAR Luke Performance Cycles CMI U23
DNF 123 TANNER John Sportscover Altura RT
DNF 124 MORALEE Duncan Sportscover Altura RT
DNF 125 DUGGLEBY Adam Sportscover Altura RT
DNF 126 HUMPHREY Collin Sportscover Altura RT
DNF 127 SCOTT Jamie SPIN-ROTOR Racing Team
DNF 128 LONDORS Paul SPIN-ROTOR Racing Team
DNF 129 PALMER David SPIN-ROTOR Racing Team
DNF 130 ROBERTSON Paul SPIN-ROTOR Racing Team
DNF 131 HENRY Ryan BC East Midlands
DNF 132 COYLE Chris BC East Midlands
DNF 133 BARRATT Matt BC East Midlands
DNF 135 PERRY Mark Dirtwheels Cycles
DNF 136 WATSON Robert Dirtwheels Cycles
DNF 137 BULMER Matthew Dirtwheels Cycles
DNF 140 VAN DER SCHUEREN Kenny Etcetera-Worldofbike
DNF 141 IOANNIDIS Nikolaos Etcetera-Worldofbike
DNF 142 TSOPOUROGLOU Vasileios Etcetera-Worldofbike
DNF 143 SPANOPOULOS Ioannis Etcetera-Worldofbike
DNF 144 GKAZONIS Petros Etcetera-Worldofbike
DNF 146 OLDHAM Paul Hope Factory Racing
DNF 147 WILLIAMS Matthew Hope Factory Racing
DNF 148 BOOTH Daniel Hope Factory Racing
DNF 149 THOMPSON James Hope Factory Racing
DNF 150 COLLINS Dave Hope Factory Racing
DNF 151 CLARKSON Jack Hope Factory Racing
DNF 153 CRAMPTON Robert Team Wallis CHH
DNF 155 CRELLIN John Team Wallis CHH
DNF 156 NICHOLSON Calum Team Wallis CHH
DNF 160 KING Alexander Loughborough University Team
DNF 162 THELWELL Michael Loughborough University Team
DNF 163 ULMER Matthew Loughborough University Team
DNF 164 DUNCOMB-ROGERS Brock GWR – Swindon
DNF 165 WIECKOWSKI Jess GWR – Swindon
DNF 166 DENNY Rupert GWR – Swindon
DNF 167 WILKINSON Chris GWR – Swindon
DNF 168 JONES Matthew Team Corley Cycles
DNF 169 MILLARD James Team Corley Cycles
DNF 170 STONES Liam Team Corley Cycles
DNF 171 SMITH Michael Team Corley Cycles
DNF 172 LYONS Andy Twenty3C – Orbea
DNF 173 SZLACHTA Wojciech Twenty3C – Orbea
DNF 174 BERRIL Clem Twenty3C – Orbea
DNF 175 HOWELLS Rhys Twenty3C – Orbea
DNF 176 ATKINS George Great Britain U 23 Academy
DNF 177 DOULL Owain Great Britain U 23 Academy
DNF 178 GALLAGHER Kenta Great Britain U 23 Academy
DNF 179 FERGUSON Grant Great Britain U 23 Academy
DNF 180 HARRISON Sam Great Britain U 23 Academy

Hot Spot Sprints

Oakham
18 WILLIAMS Pete Node 4 – Giordana Racing
4 CAMANO Iker Endura Racing
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC

Owston 1
3 BLAIN Alexander Endura Racing
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
29 McCALLUM James Rapha Condor Sharp

Owston 2
3 BLAIN Alexander Endura Racing
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
18 WILLIAMS Pete Node 4 – Giordana Racing

Corporate Ascents King of the Bergs

Cold Overton 1
50 GUSTAVSSON Niklas Team UK Youth
96 ERLER Tobias Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
12 MOORE George CyclePremier

Burrough on the Hill 1
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
96 ERLER Tobias Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
8 ADAMS Stephen CyclePremier
19 SULZBERGER Bernard Raleigh – GAC

Burrough on the Hill 2
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
96 ERLER Tobias Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss
54 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth
19 SULZBERGER Bernard Raleigh – GAC

Burrough on the Hill 3
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
28 GRIVELL-MELLOR Luke Rapha Condor Sharp
29 McCALLUM James Rapha Condor Sharp
54 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth

Cold Overton 2
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC
54 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth
3 BLAIN Alexander Endura Racing
96 AUT1790517 ERLER Tobias Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss

KOM Classification
23 SPARLING Jamie Raleigh – GAC 22pts
96 ERLER Tobias Arbo-Gebruder-Weiss 10pts
54 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth 6pts

Team Competition

Endura Racing
3 BLAIN Alexander Endura Racing
4 CAMANO Iker Endura Racing
6 DOWNING Russell Endura Racing

Most Aggressive Rider

54 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth