Women’s cycling got another boost one week ago when organisers RCS Sport announced the women’s edition of Strade Bianche to be raced on the same day as the men’s race. The women will be spared no difficulty: during the 103km one-day road race they will tackle a total of 17km of gravel roads, the feature that has made the men’s race so famous and which gives the event its name (white roads).
“After the launch of La Course by Le Tour last year, this is another welcome step forward for women’s cycling,” said UCI Vice-president and President of the UCI Women’s Commission Tracey Gaudry.
“The UCI is currently working on a project to further develop women’s road cycling over the coming years, and we are very pleased to have the support of different major organisers. As President of the Women’s Commission and also as a former athlete, I appreciate how important this is.”
She said it was fitting that the UCI organise its first UCI Women’s Teams Seminar to coincide with the inaugural women’s Strade Bianche. The seminar, to which all 38 UCI Women’s Teams will be invited, will be held on the 8th of March in Siena. This seminar comes after the UCI Women Road World Cup seminar held last December in Montreux, Switzerland.
Following the increased media exposure for the UCI Women Road World Cup in 2014, the UCI is now working on further developments including extending the women’s series and professionalising women’s road teams.
UCI Women’s Cycling Coordinator Andrea Marcellini explains: “To achieve this, the UCI needs more information from the teams. We are in the process of forming a Women’s Teams Working Group, made up of riders, team representatives and a sports economist, which will help us define priorities and establish a timeline for each step of professionalising the teams.”
On top of its own meetings, the working group will be present at the UCI Women’s Teams Seminar in Italy. It will hold a round-table discussion which will be open to all those attending the seminar.
“The seminar will give us a chance to outline the role of the working group, share what is planned and receive feedback. It will also be an opportunity for everyone to have their say,” said Marcellini.
RCS Sport’s Head of Cycling Mauro Vegni said he was proud to announce the female version of the Strade Bianche which would enrich a movement in continuous development and demonstrated RCS Sport’s continued investment in the cycling world.
“We are very glad that UCI has chosen the inaugural Strade Bianche Women Elite to hold the first Women Teams’ Seminar and our will is to give all the support they may need in organising this event,” he said.
“Being held at the beginning of the season, it is a good way to pay specific attention to important matters regarding the whole season.
“The UCI is doing a great job promoting women cycling by providing opportunities for all the stakeholders to share their ideas and knowhow.
“That the Seminar coincides with International Women’s Day is an added value which we hope will be a communication drive pushing media to speak about women’s cycling.” concluded Mauro Vegni.
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