March 5 will mark a big step forward in women’s cycling with the launch of the new Women’s WorldTour at Strade Bianche in Italy. The UCI announced the world-class series that combines one-day races and stage races last fall, and marquee riders Lizzie Armitstead and Evelyn Stevens have expressed their support for the series, and gave a nod toward the continued development of women’s cycling.
“I see the UCI Women’s WorldTour as a clear indicator of growth and excitement around women’s cycling,” Women’s UCI Hour Record holder Stevens said in a press release from the UCI. “I’m looking forward to the series as a whole, especially the races on American soil – the Amgen Tour of California and Philly Classic.”
The UCI created the Women’s WorldTour, which was several years in the making, after consulting with race organisers, teams, rider representatives, media and sponsors, and the UCI Women’s Teams Working Group.
“Under Brian Cookson’s administration, we set out to place women’s cycling on the same platform as men,” said Tracey Gaudry, UCI Vice President and Chair of the UCI Women’s Commission in a press release. “In less than three years we have created the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Teams, riders and event organisers are all on- board, and fans will now be able to see the best female cyclists all around the world.”
The Women’s WorldTour replaces the former World Cup, which included 10 one-day races, and instead brings together 17 of the world’s most prestigious one-day events and stage races, which will be 35 days of racing in 2016. The riders will compete for the win during each event and for the overall UCI Women’s WorldTour rankings in individual, under-23 and teams categories.
“The UCI Women’s WorldTour is about bringing together the best riders in the top women’s races in a coherent, exciting and expanded calendar of events,” said UCI President Brian Cookson. “It will provide the perfect platform not just to grow women’s cycling around the world, but also to boost the profile of women’s cycling. I am convinced that the new structure we now have in place is an important milestone in the evolution of women’s cycling.”
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