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UCI outlines 2021 calendar as Tour de France brought forward

Egan Bernal of Colombia competes on the Champs-Elysees avenue during the Paris Champs-Elysees stage of the 2019 Tour de France (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has revealed the calendars for the 2021 WorldTour and Women’s WorldTour seasons, with the Tour de France to start a week earlier than originally planned to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for this summer, will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this has resulted in the rescheduling of several UCI events.

The Tour de France, which will start in Copenhagen and had originally been scheduled for July 2-25, will now run from June 26 to July 18 so it does not overlap with the Olympic road cycling races on July 24, 25 and 28.

The Vuelta a España will also be held a week earlier than its usual dates to allow for a better transition between the event, the European Championships (September 11-12) and the UCI Road World Championships (September 18-26). The Vuelta will now take place from August 14 to September 5.

The UCI also confirmed that organisers of the Tour of California and RideLondon-Surrey Classic have not requested to register their events for the 2021 WorldTour season.

“The UCI regrets the departure of these two events and will work with concerned parties towards trying to ensure the return to the leading series for men’s professional road cycling of events taking place in these two regions that are important for high-level cycling,” the body said in a statement.

The UCI WorldTour will comprise 35 events in 2021, beginning with the Tour Down Under in Australia from January 19-24 and ending with the Tour of Guangxi in China from October 14-19.

The UCI has also confirmed the cancellation of this year’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, as well as the Cyclassics Hamburg event. The races should have taken place on September 11, September 13 and October 3, respectively.

The 2021 Women’s WorldTour will feature 25 events and, like the men’s WorldTour, will start in Australia at the end of January and end in China in October. The calendar will include the returning Paris-Roubaix, with the RideLondon Classique also featured.

The Women’s WorldTour will also feature the addition of the Itzulia Women (formerly Donostia San Sebastian), which will take place before another new Spanish event, the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas. The Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta event will be held a week earlier to provide a smoother transition to the European Championships and the UCI Road World Championships.

As with the men’s WorldTour, organisers of the Tour of California Women’s Race have not requested registration for next year.

The UCI also confirmed that this year’s Boels Ladies Tour in the Netherlands, which had been scheduled for September 1-6, has been cancelled.