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Flanders Classics aims for full women’s calendar in re-scheduled season

Gent-Wevelgem and Tour of Flanders set to return to Women's WorldTour in 2020, organizers eyeing October dates.

Flanders Classics has raised hopes for the revised 2020 women’s pro cycling calendar.

Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics, which runs events including Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, confirmed Wednesday that “we plan to organize all-female equivalents of our men’s races.”

Key stakeholders in women’s cycling have expressed their dissatisfaction over the lack of clarity around their race calendar in the re-organized 2020 season, having been left to one side in the UCI’s initial sketch of the season to come and being forced to wait until May 5 for the governing body’s final plans for a 2020 racing calendar.

Van Den Speigel’s statement will at least provide some hope that the women’s peloton will see the return of key races such as Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem later this year after they were pushed from their traditional spring dates due to coronavirus.

“We want the most attractive calendar for women’s cycling,” Van Den Spiegel told Sporza. “We plan to organize all-female equivalents of our men’s races. We also want to look at an extension of the women’s calendar.”

Annemiek van Vleuten won the opening race of the Flanders Classics schedule at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February this year. The Dutch World Champion is one of those who has vocalized her disapproval at the lack of clarity over the women’s calendar, calling it a “missed opportunity” earlier this month.

Van Den Spiegel discussed potential October dates for his flagship men’s races, describing the month as “a comparable period to spring in terms of weather conditions.” Recent reports have suggested possible start dates of October 11 for Gent-Wevelgem and October 18 for the Tour of Flanders.

“We do not know what date we will be allocated, but we can live very well with October 11, and 18,” Van Den Spiegel said. “There are still some decisions to be made.”

Flanders Classics is hoping to re-organize all its races for later this year, which includes Dwars door Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs, and De Brabntse Pijl.