Sept 25, 2015 – The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced Thursday the formation of the Women’s World Tour, a 17-race series starting in 2016 to replace the Women’s Road World Cup.
China and the United States will host events on the new global circuit, which features four stage races and 13 one-day events contested over 35 days in nine nations.
Next year’s women’s tour will begin March 5 with Italy’s Strade Bianche and conclude September 11 with the new Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, boosting the number of women’s competition days by more than 60 percent from the World Cup, which ran from 1998 to this year.
Teams, riders, sponsors and race organizers each had input into the changeover. “The launch of the UCI Women’s World Tour 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,” said UCI president Brian Cookson.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to reach agreement.” After the season starts in Europe, China hosts the first of four stage races on the calendar May 6-8 at the Tour of Chongming Island followed by the US Tour of California from May 19-22 and the one-day Philadelphia Classic on June 5.
The tour returns to Europe with two multi-day events, the Women’s Tour of Britain from June 15-19 and the Women’s Giro d’Italia from July 1-10. Riders will compete for season ranking points as well as victories. “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.”