Women’s Cycling Turning Wheels to Showcase Growth in the Sport
The UCI Women’s WorldTour, which will be launched on March 5th with the Strade Bianche (Italy), promising a new and exciting era for women’s cycling. Replacing the former UCI Women Road World Cup, which ran since 1998, the UCI Women’s WorldTour has been established to accommodate the fast growth of women’s cycling and provide a significant boost to the sport. The 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour will comprise 35 days of racing, including Spring Classics, exciting stage races held worldwide and monument races attached to men’s UCI WorldTour events. In total, competition days will increase by more than 60%.
Spanning six months (from the Strade Bianche in March to the recently formed one-day La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta in September), the 2016 UCI Women’s World Tour will take the peloton to 17 events across Europe, the United States and China. That represents nearly twice as many races as the UCI Women Road World Cup and for the first time includes stage races such as the Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain and the historical Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile.
At a minimum, the top 20 UCI Women’s Teams will be invited to each event, with some organizers choosing to increase the size of the peloton by offering a greater number of teams the chance to race. As well as battling for victories in the individual races, the riders will compete in the UCI Women’s WorldTour rankings (individual, Under-23 and teams).
“We set out to place women’s cycling on the same platform as men,” said Tracey Gaudry, UCI Vice President and Chair of the UCI Women’s Commission. “In less than three years we have created the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Teams, riders and event organizers are all on- board, and fans will now be able to see the best female cyclists all around the world.”
“It is important for women’s cycling to have new developments and challenges to continue to grow,” said Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead, UCI Road Race World Champion and two times winner of the UCI Women Road World Cup. “I think the new structure and specific initiatives involved in the UCI Women’s WorldTour will hopefully lead to more positive change.”
“I see the UCI Women’s WorldTour as a clear indicator of growth and excitement around women’s cycling,” said new Women’s UCI Hour Record holder American Evelyn Stevens. “I’m looking forward to the series as a whole, especially the races on American soil – the Amgen Tour of California and Philly Classic.”
Photo: Tessa Capistrano