UCI expands Women’s WorldTour following debut season

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has expanded its Women’s WorldTour series by adding four new events to the 2017 calendar.

Two stage races and two one-day races have been added to next year’s schedule, increasing the total number of competition days by over 30 per cent.

The Netherlands will stage the one-day Amstel Gold Race on April 16 next year, with the Liège-Bastogne-Liège event to be held in Belgium on April 23.

Additional stage races will take place from August 17-20 with the Ladies Tour of Norway, and from August 29 to September 3 with the Boles Rental Ladies Tour in the Netherlands.

The new dates take the total number of events for the 2017 season up to 21, with all 17 meets from the inaugural 2016 campaign having been retained.

The season gets underway with the Strade Bianche in Italy on March 4 and concludes with the Madrid Challenge by Vuelta event in Spain on September 10. The series will also feature events in China, USA, Great Britain, France and Sweden.

“The extended calendar reflects the significant progress being made to boost the profile and professionalism of women’s cycling and establish its status within mainstream sport,” UCI president Brian Cookson said. “We will continue to move forward and look at ways we can further increase the exposure of women’s cycling in line with the UCI’s strategy for developing the sport.”

Tracey Gaudry, UCI vice-president and president of the UCI Women’s Commission, added: “In 2017, we will strengthen the UCI Women’s WorldTour events platform, including the sequence of races, their promotion and media coverage. We have retained all 17 already successful 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour events and added four spectacular new and exciting races.”

The 2016 Women’s WorldTour season concluded last month. It replaced the former UCI Women Road World Cup, which ran from 1998 to 2015. Megan Guarnier of the US won the first-ever Women’s WorldTour individual title, with Boels-Dolmans crowned teams’ champion.