The UCI announced the details of the inaugural Women’s WorldTour (WWT) on Thursday. In 2016, the WWT will replace the women’s World Cup, which began in 1998. The world’s top female racers will take on a combination of one-day and stage races totaling 35 days from March (Strade Bianche, Italy) to September (with the recently formed one-day La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta), increasing the number of competition days by more than 60 percent, compared to the outgoing World Cup series.
“The launch of the UCI Women’s WorldTour is a major step forward for women’s cycling and reflects detailed and very constructive discussions we have had with all our key stakeholders for more than a year now,” said UCI president Brian Cookson. “Growing the profile and professionalism of women’s cycling was one of my election pledges, and so I am delighted that we have been able to reach agreement on the UCI WWT which will see competition days increase by more than 60 percent with the peloton taking place in 17 events across Europe, the U.S., and China.”
The top-20 UCI women’s teams will be invited to participate in each event with some organizers choosing to increase the size of the peloton by offering a greater number of teams the chance to race. There will be WWT leader’s and young (under-23) leader’s jerseys. Individual stage races will also be allowed to introduce their own leader’s jerseys.
Additionally, the UCI aims to boost media coverage and said there will be substantial live broadcast and streaming as well as highlight packages to cover the events. Organizers will also be required to provide a news clip to be distributed to international broadcasters after the race finishes, and the UCI says it will ensure that each event is promoted across social media, including its dedicated women’s cycling channel.
“The tour will present a season-long calendar of events that will help build a strong narrative around our sport,” said UCI women’s commission chair Tracey Gaudry. “With riders battling for honors in one-day classics and stage races as well as for overall rankings, I’m convinced we now have a premier product that will bring a whole new set of fans to women’s cycling.”
2016 Women’s WorldTour schedule
March 3: Strade Bianche, Italy
March 12: Women’s WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe, the Netherlands
March 27: Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, Belgium
April 3: Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres, Belgium
April 20: La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, Belgium
May 6-8: Tour of Chongming Island, China
May 19-22: Amgen Tour of California, USA
June 5: Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, USA
June 15-19: Aviva Women’s Tour, Great Britain
July 1-10: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, Italy
July 24: La Course by Le Tour de France, France
July 30: Prudential Ride London, Great Britain
August 19: Crescent Vargarda UCI Women’s WorldTour, Sweden
August 21: Crescent Vargarda UCI Women’s WorldTour TTT, Sweden
August 27: GP de Plouay-Bretagne, France
September 11: La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, Spain