Vuelta a España director Javier Guillén has confirmed that plans are in place for the women’s stage race, which runs parallel to the men’s event in its final week, to lengthen by anything between two and four stages.
First created as a one-day event on the Women’s WorldTour in 2015, when Shelley Olds took victory in a bunch sprint, the Challenge by La Vuelta race was lengthened to two stages in 2018 and 2019. It then increased to three stages for the first time in 2020.
The 2020 Challenge by La Vuelta began with a rolling stage around Toledo, south-west of Madrid, and a short time trial followed before a flat stage through the capital on the same urban circuit used by the men’s Vuelta later in the day. Germany’s Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro) won overall for a second successive year.
“The Vuelta doesn’t just exclusively base itself on the professional men’s event,” Guillén insisted in a media meeting run by the Europapress news agency on Tuesday morning.
“We are also very satisfied with the investment we are making in women’s sport as well, promoting the Challenge by La Vuelta.
“It’s a three-day race which has very solid pillars for growth and which, in a similar fashion to what’s happening in the Tour de France with ASO [who are set to run a women’s race in 2022 – ed.] can increase in the mid-to-long-term towards becoming a race of between five to seven days. In that way it will be one of the most important races in the international calendar.
“We are going to do that not just because we feel it’s the right thing to do, but also because the benefits are clear to see, year by year. Also our associates want us to do it and, it’s a race that works.”
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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