The UCI announced the 22 races that will make up the 2020 Women's WorldTour that will include Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, despite earlier reports of ASO's threat to pull the two races from the top-tier calendar if they were forced to provide the 45 minutes of live TV coverage mandated by the UCI. ASO has told Cyclingnews that it will provide TV coverage of both Spring Classics.
The UCI confirmed in its announcement that all organisers had accepted the new criteria for the Women's WorldTour reforms. The UCI told Cyclingnews earlier this month that the discussion over mandatory TV coverage is on-going but that it would remain part of the criteria for being a Women's WorldTour event.
"In line with our strategy to develop women's professional road cycling, one of the conditions required of organisers for their event to be registered in the UCI Women's WorldTour from next season will be to provide a minimum of 45 minutes live television coverage," a representative of the UCI told Cyclingnews.
ASO told Cyclingnews earlier this month that the discussion with the UCI over TV coverage was a 'work-in'progress'. However, a representative from ASO told Cyclingnews on Thursday that they had always intended to provide live TV coverage, despite reports that suggested otherwise.
"Contrary to what have been written a few months ago, A.S.O. as always had the intention to respect the technical specifications requested by the U.C.I. for the women’s World Tour races," a representative of ASO told Cyclingnews. "And so there will be a television live coverage, as the other races of the women’s WT races."
The UCI announced the Women's WorldTour calendar after last week's meetings of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) and the UCI Management Committee in Lavey-les-Bains, Switzerland.
Women's WorldTour to start in Australia
The 2020 Women's WorldTour will start at the beginning of February in Australia with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Women, which will open the women's professional road cycling season. The top-tier calendar began in 2016 and had traditionally begun in Italy at Strade Bianche, which will now mark the second round of the series in March.
There are two races that are notably absent from the Women's WorldTour; Emakumeen Bira (Spain) and Prudential RideLondon Classique (UK), with the latter has not been registered due to a clash with the Ladies Tour of Norway.
"The requested change [for RideLondon] means the race would take place during the Ladies Tour of Norway, a well-established event in the leading series of women's professional road cycling which offers television coverage that fully complies with the organisers' specifications," the statement read.
"The UCI wishes to avoid an overlapping of events that could lead to logistical difficulties for teams wishing to participate in all UCI Women's WorldTour events: this is one of the fundamental principles of the series' calendar. Due to the popularity of the event and the quality of its organisation, the UCI hopes that conditions will allow the Prudential RideLondon Classique to return to the UCI Women’s WorldTour in future years."
All the races organised from the month of May onwards will take place one week earlier to help women best prepare for the Olympic Games in August.
Organisers of the newly launched La Clasica San Sebastian Femenina in August had hopes of becoming part of the Women's WorldTour in 2020, but the race is not listed.
The UCI announced last year the structure of women's races would be changing in 2020. The events structure will be called the UCI ProSeries that includes four classes: UCI Women's WorldTour, UCI ProSeries, Class 1 and Class 2, which it believes is more aligned with the development of women's cycling while offering a structure adapted to its future growth.
In addition, women's teams will be streamed into two-tiers: Women's WorldTeams and Continental Teams. The UCI is expecting that the new top-tier would include five teams in the first year (2020), with a goal of increasing to 15 teams by 2022.
The full 2020 UCI International Road Calendar, including men's and women's events in the UCI ProSeries, Class 1 and Class 2, will be published in September after the UCI Management Committee meeting taking place in Yorkshire (Great Britain) during the UCI Road World Championships.
2020 UCI Women's WorldTour Calendar: