Dwars door de Westhoek has managed to find a new date after it was forced to move from its previously agreed slot when ASO applied to host a women's Liege-Bastogne-Liege on the same weekend. The Belgian one-day race is now set to take place on Sunday, May 14 the organisers have told Cyclingnews.
The new date is not set in stone just yet as the race organisers will have to wait for confirmation of the official 2017 race calendar, which is expected soon after this week's UCI Congress. The date is likely to place them just before the Tour of California and the Boels Rentals Hills Classic.
Plans for next year's race were already underway when, at the end of last month, the Dwars door de Westhoek organisers received a phone call from the Belgian Federation informed them that they would need to find a new place in the calendar. Tour de France organisers ASO, had made a late application to hold a women's Liege-Bastogne-Liege and they wanted their weekend. They were given a week to find a new date, leaving them concerned for the race’s future. It was a decision that they have likened to a knockout punch from a boxer.
With the news that they have been able to find a new slot, their future appears secure for now. However, the organisers vented their frustration with the governing body the UCI and ASO, saying that they were shown 'little respect' by both.
"We want to make clear once again that the way the UCI and ASO our treatment shows little respect. For 11 years we have worked hard at the request of the Cycling Federation for women's cycling," a statement on the race website said.
"With the support of loyal sponsors and the help of many people we have helped bring women's cycling to a higher level. Now it is commercially interesting, and bringing many major players into the cart. It's not a problem, but a little respect for the people who organised races when it was less commercially viable, is still necessary. Our loyal sponsors and other organisers deserve respect, and without them, there is now no question of a popular women's cycling."
Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not the only potential new race on the women’s WorldTour calendar. With the Amstel Gold Race also looking to revive its women's event, it is likely that there will be a full 'Ardennes Week' for the women's peloton in 2017.
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