Ciclismo Mundial is a newly formed Continental women's team that includes the biggest cyclo-cross stars in the sport - world champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Sanne Cant and Annemarie Worst. The team aims to give the riders a year-round racing programme and even considers participating in a future edition of the new women's Paris-Roubaix, according to a report in Wielerflits.
The team is managed under the Roodhooft brothers, Philip and Christoph, and is registered in Belgium. The roster also includes Manon Bakker, Kiona Crabbe, Yara Kastelijn, Jinse Peeters, Loes Sels and Karen Verhestraeten. Camiel van den Bergh will direct the team.
"You don't have to be a genius to know what the underlying intention is," said Philip Roodhooft, who also manages Alpecin-Fenix. "More and more good cyclists are part of a road team. Just think of Lucinda Brand, Marianne Vos or Inge van der Heijden. We don't want our ladies to fall behind."
The UCI announced on May 5 a revised 2020 Women’s WorldTour calendar, a replacement for plans that were halted due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The top-tier series has retained 18 of the 22 events, now set to take place from August 1 to November 8, and surprise addition to the schedule was a first-ever women's Paris-Roubaix scheduled to take place on October 25.
"Because we expect women's cycling to continue to evolve in the coming years. If you do not want to lag behind, it is necessary to be able to offer our ladies a full road program. That was a problem so far. Starting up a continental team eliminates that problem. And hopefully we will stay one step ahead of the competition," Roodhooft said.
"Maybe that is even necessary and that will eventually become a question of the ladies themselves. For example, I can imagine that a number of them would be happy to be at the start of Paris-Roubaix."
Alvarado competes in a full cyclo-cross campaign for the Alpecin-Fenix team. She is the reigning world champion having won the elite women's race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World championships in Dübendorf, Switzerland in February. She held off her compatriots Annemarie Worst and Lucinda Brand in the sprint finish.
Alvarado, Cant and Worst compete in a full cyclo-cross season, but do not currently compete at the highest level on the road or in a full schedule of road racing, as do riders such as Vos or Brand.
The current Ciclismo Mundial roster includes riders who race for cyclo-cross teams Alpecin-Fenix, IKO-Crelan or Team 777. "But we don't rule out other cyclists joining in. And I would also like to point out that they do remain competitors in field," said van den Bergh.
The goals is to provide a year-round programme for the world's best cyclo-cross racers, however, Roodhooft said the team will not take part in the Women's WorldTour one-day races scheduled in the new late-season calendar for 2020, rather he is looking ahead to future seasons.
"Don't expect us to be at the start of the top classics in 2020 either," he said. "Our main goal is to offer our ladies a road program. We don't know what this will lead to in the long term. But we have the feeling that it can become something beautiful."
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