The organisers of next week’s six-day Women’s Tour have announced that this year’s race will not be broadcast live due to the impact of "commercial realities".
Race organiser Sweetspot signed a five-year broadcast deal in February of this year with Eurosport and GCN to produce the first-ever live coverage of the six-day Women’s Tour race.
Under UCI rules women’s WorldTour races have to broadcast each stage live for at least 45 minutes. When the Giro Donne opted not to invest in a live broadcast in 2020, it was relegated from the 2021 WorldTour calendar. However Sweetspot said on Monday there would only be free-to-air nightly highlights programmes in the UK on ITV4 and distributed internationally by Eurosport GCN.
Sweetsport recently organised a successful edition of the men’s Tour of Britain, offering full live coverage of every stage in Britain. Sweetspot has matched the Women’s Tour prize money to that of the Tour of Britain but live television coverage has been axed.
Many people in the sport believe live television coverage is vital to promote women’s racing. However the costs of producing live television coverage are much higher than highlights due to the need for helicopters and a more complex production team.
“This has been the hardest time in the race’s existence and provided challenges even greater than when we created and established the Women’s Tour in 2014,” Sweetspot said announcing the cancellation of live television coverage.
“As a result of these commercial realities, we will not be able to expand the coverage of the Women’s Tour in 2021 to include a live broadcast.
“We will continue to have a fantastic free-to-air nightly highlights programme in the UK on ITV4 and distributed internationally by Eurosport GCN, and to share content from the race across our website and social media channels to keep fans as informed and updated as possible," read the statement from organisers on the race web site.
The race starts in Bicester in the south of England on Monday, October 4, and ends in Felixstowe in the southeast coast of England on Saturday, October 9.
The Women’s Tour was last held in 2019, with last year's race cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s race is expected to attract a high-quality field, including 2019 winner Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) and new World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service).
“We appreciate that fans of the Women’s Tour in the UK and around the world will not be able to watch the race live. We share their disappointment. There is nothing that we would like more than to be able to showcase the fantastic racing, beautiful scenery and great community support that the race receives through a live broadcast.
“The whole organisation shares the same determination to have a fantastic Women’s Tour in October 2021 and to do our utmost to be able to tell the story of the 2022 race live around the world.”
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.