The women's version of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – the Deakin University Elite Women's Road Race – has been granted WorldTour status by the UCI for 2020, and will be the first round of the competition in February next year.
While races such as the RideLondon Classique and Emakumeen Bira have missed out on being part of the Women's WorldTour next season, the organisers behind the Australian event are thrilled to be in the top tier for the first time, which means that both the men's and women's road races – held across the first weekend of February – have reached the sport's highest level after only five years of existence.
"It's going to be an incredible competition and, I hope, a great source of inspiration for the next generation of women riders in Australia – and beyond," said 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans in a press release.
"As long-time supporters of gender equality in sport, we are also proud to award equal prize money for both the elite men's and women's races," continued Evans, whose eponymous race was first held in 2015, with races for both men and women from the beginning.
"The elevation of the Deakin University Elite Women's Road Race to UCI Women's WorldTour status is in recognition by the UCI of the exceptional standard and promotion of the event since its inception," added president of the UCI Women's Commission and UCI Management Committee member Tracey Gaudry.