Want to see the future of professional cycling? Look no further than the latest racing calendar for 2020.
Late Wednesday evening, the UCI revealed what next season’s road racing schedule will look like. The takeaway? New races everywhere.
It was already confirmed that a new U.S. race will be part of the new-look calendar, with an inaugural event set for Maryland ahead of the Canadian WorldTour races.
Changes go deeper than that. New events will be featured in nearly every continent, from Australia, to the Americas to Europe. There was no confirmation from the UCI on how many new races are part of next season, but the 2020 calendar provides the first glimpse of the ambitious reforms being promoted by UCI president David Lappartient.
The calendar is being reshaped to reflect changes in new categories among both teams and events. The WorldTour calendar remains largely untouched, but a new UCI ProSeries is a rebranded face for second-tier races that are just below WorldTour status. A women’s WorldTour calendar is also expanded.
New events are cropping up in some unexpected places. One such race is a new ASO-backed four-day race at the Tour of Saudi Arabia (2.1) in February. RCS Sport is also bringing a new race to Israel with the Tel-Aviv Classic (1.1), also in February, piggy-backing on its largely successful “big start” in Jerusalem in 2018. Australia sees new events on the men’s and women’s sides in the week between the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
The 2020 calendar is being revealed just as there is some behind-the-scenes push-back from organizers and teams of what the UCI hopes to do as part of its larger reshaping of the racing calendar. Velon, a private group representing a dozen WorldTour teams, recently took a challenge to the European Commission. A similar appeal to the EC was filed this week by representatives from the Italian cycling community.
Another new initiative called the “Classics Series” that is set to include most of the major one-day races across the calendar was missing from the latest UCI calendar. Sources say there is behind-the-scenes wrangling on what the new stand-alone branded series might look like, but individually the races are all part of the overall larger schedule.
Notable changes for 2020 include having the Tour de France start a week earlier, next summer on June 27, to make room for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Tour of Turkey, part of the WorldTour the past few seasons, bumps down to the new ProSeries status (2.Pro) for 2020.