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Race organizer RCS is planning to add a women’s Milan-San Remo to its race portfolio in 2023.
The Italian company, which organizes men’s events as well as the Giro d’Italia, Il Lombardia, and Milan-San Remo, currently organizes one women’s race at Strade Bianche. The one-day race is contested on the same day as the men’s competition and opens up the WorldTour calendar.
Earlier this year, Italian world champion Elisa Balsamo told VeloNews she would like to see a women’s San Remo added to the calendar. RCS confirmed it was already working towards that for next year and planned to run it on the same day as the men, but over a shorter distance.
“We are working this year to launch a Milan-San Remo for women, because I think that it’s a spring monument event that should be for the women. Of course, not such a long distance but we are working now to guarantee if for next year. It would be on the same day, so it would be in the same format as Strade Bianche,” RCS CEO Paolo Bellino said in a call with the press Tuesday.
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Should RCS get the go-ahead to run a Milan-San Remo Donne, it would mean a busy weekend for the women’s peloton.
The men’s San Remo is currently raced on the same weekend as the Trofeo Alfredo Binda — one of the longest standing events on the women’s calendar — which is raced in Cittiglio, around four hours north. However, the events are on a Saturday and Sunday respectively, opening up the opportunity of racing both.
In addition to creating a women’s San Remo, RCS is also looking to become involved in the Giro d’Italia Donne. The 10-day race has been in existence since 1988 and has long been the only grand tour on the women’s calendar, though that had changed with the introduction of the Tour de France Femmes.
The Giro d’Italia Donne is organized separately to the men’s Giro d’Italia, which is due to start this weekend. With a well-established set-up already in place, Bellino does not want to create a new event but work with the current owner of the race, the Italian cycling federation, to build a closer relationship between the two races.
“We are discussing with the national federation to see if there are opportunities to work together. My intention is to define something by the beginning of June because there is a question of the calendar, and how to pack everything together,” Bellino said. “I think that in the next few months you will have some good news regarding this event. We would like to move it closer to the [men’s] Giro d’Italia but the women’s calendar is very tough, which is good and it’s a good opportunity.
“I thought at the beginning that it would be much better to work together with them instead of creating a new race especially as the one belonging to the national federation is already on the WorldTour calendar. Now, with the new rules, to become WorldTour takes some years. So, my intention was exactly the same one and I would like to say that the Tour de France did an incredible thing. It was my intention to put together the Giro d’Italia men and women, not on the same days but one following the other.”
Women’s cycling has changed dramatically over the last decade and Bellino believes that is set to continue in the coming years.
“I think that women’s cycling is growing very quickly,” he said. “If I compare it to tennis and running, athletics, golf, all the sports are growing, and I think that in the next four or five years there will be incredible growth of the cycling movement and luckily in this moment we also have some incredible female riders that achieve incredible goals. We saw in the last season and in the last few events. We are working and I hope that we will be able to do everything next year.”