photo credits @ UCI
The UCI Women’s WorldTour, which will be launched on March 5th with the Strade Bianche race in Italy, promises 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 encompass 35 days of racing, including Spring Classics, several 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 WorldTour 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).
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “The UCI Women’s WorldTour is about bringing together the best riders in the top women’s races in a coherent, exciting and expanded calendar of events. It will provide the perfect platform not just to grow women’s cycling around the world, but also to boost the profile of women’s cycling. I am convinced that the new structure we now have in place is an important milestone in the evolution of women’s cycling.”
“Under Brian Cookson’s administration, 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 organisers 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 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 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.”
“The UCI Women’s WorldTour will provide a narrative to our racing season,” said Megan Guarnier (USA – Boels Dolmans Cycling Team). With increased accessibility to the highest level of races, along with the higher visibility of our races, the interest of potential sponsors will be piqued and allow a healthier future for women’s cycling. I am especially excited that the UCI Women’s WorldTour includes the Strade Bianche. We were fortunate to have it added to our Spring Classics calendar last year, and it being such an arduous course it is a perfect race to kick off the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour.”
All 17 events of the 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour will benefit from TV coverage, either from live broadcast, live streaming or same day highlights packages.
In addition, the UCI will partner exclusively with IMG to ensure extra-exposure for the UCI Women’s WorldTour through the InCycle magazine show, which has generated a global audience of 18.68 million from 1,358 hours of broadcast coverage in 2015. Throughout the season, 12 shows of 26 minutes will each feature a sequence dedicated to the UCI Women’s WorldTour. This exclusive content will be accessible via http://www.incycle.tv and http://tv.uci.ch (without geo restrictions) and through the +35 broadcasters the magazine ice will be distributed to all countries.
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