Impacts of compressed 2020 women's calendar could last into next season - Video

The UCI Women's WorldTour for 2020 will be a compressed but reduced series, with 16 of the original 22 events - five stage races and 11 one-day events including the inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix - all packed into three months.

The UCI interviewed Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) and Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-Scott) about what the riders are expecting of the new calendar and the physical and mental impacts it will have.

The published revised UCI Women’s WorldTour starts August 1 with the Strade Bianche. A gap has been left open in the series by the cancellation of the Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda West Sweden TTT and road race and Ladies Tour of Norway in August and it picks back up on August 26 with the GP de Plouay, La Course (August 29), the Boels Ladies Tour (September 1-6) and a shortened Giro Rosa (September 11-19).

The three Ardennes Classics follow, with Flèche Wallonne (September 30), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (October 4) and Amstel Gold Race (October 10) then Gent-Wevelgem (October 11), the Tour of Flanders (October 18), Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne (October 20) and the new Paris-Roubaix (October 25). It closes with the Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta (November 6-8). Tucked in between are the Tour of Chongming Island (October 23-25) and Tour of Guangxi (November 10). 

Cramming most of the top races into 11 weeks will be both a logistical and physical test, with riders having to choose carefully which races to focus on.

"It's three months, so instead of thinking of it as an entire season - nobody's raced since February - I think it will be different from what you would normally expect when you have that much racing going on... I think it might change the mentality a bit towards that," Winder says.

"It's going to be interesting. I still think you can't peak for three entire months, so you're still going to have to have your favourite races."

Elvin emphasises that riders who will be able to perform will be the ones who weathered the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest in healthy ways.

"The ones that are going to do well in the races are the ones that took care of themselves not just physically but mentally through this period. It's been challenging for people in a lot of different ways," Elvin says.

Not only is the season compressed, but it is also later in the year, so that means a tough adjustment for riders, especially the Australians who look forward to racing their summer season in early January.

"This whole year is going to impact next year as well - no matter what happens from now going forward. It's really important for us to show our sponsors, so we really want to race as much as possible in this last part of the year. In a lot of ways it's going to make it really challenging. One of my teammates was supposed to get married. We like to look forward to the offseason as much as we look forward to some of these big races ... I think it's going to affect everyone going into next season."

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