Spanish stage race Emakumeen Bira has had its application to become part of the Women's WorldTour rejected by the UCI.
The race chose not to be part of the inaugural Women's WorldTour but had targeted a step up. It was not listed on the new calendar released during last month's World Championships and the final nail in the coffin of their ambitions was a letter received on November 18, which was published on the Spanish website zikloland.com
"It makes me happy to see the interest that the Spanish Cycling Federation has for women's cycling, and, of course, the many years that you have taken and the important investment you have made during all these years to develop women's cycling," the letter from UCI president Brian Cookson to the Spanish Cycling Federation read.
"Without doubt, I imagine that despite the disappointment of not forming part of the UCI Women's WorldTour from 2017, the organiser will have interest in being part of 2018."
As well as applying for WorldTour status, they also put in a request to move dates with the revived Amstel Gold Race clashing with its original April date. The five-day race is now looking to take place between May 17 and 21, although the UCI's calendar is yet to reflect this change. The new date puts them into a rare break in the WorldTour calendar, between the Tour of California and the Philadelphia Classic.
Emakumeen Bira is not the only race that has been forced out of their original slot in the calendar with Dwars door de Westhoek being relocated due to a clash with Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen has also been moved to accommodate the new La Course.
Emakumeen Bira is one of the longest running stage races on the women's calendar, running continuously since 1988. Emma Johansson beat Megan Guarnier and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio to win the 2016 edition of the race.