The UCI's Management Committee announced the 23 events that make up the 2019 Women's WorldTour on Friday. The committee met in Arzon, France, from June 19 to 21, to deliberate on the Agenda 2022 and its role in bringing gender equality to women's professional cycling, where they also validated the events for world-class series next season.
“The 2019 calendar for the UCI Women’s WorldTour confirms the excellent health of women’s cycling," said President of the UCI, David Lappartient. "This series holds a central position in the development strategy of the UCI and of our sport in general, notably concerning men-women equality. It’s a global competition, consolidated in terms of the number of events and days of competition which will facilitate, without race overlaps, the participation of teams in all events on the calendar. The increase in the media coverage confirms the commitment of organisers, the confidence of broadcasters, the enthusiasm of the public and the growing reputation of our series as a reference for all involved in women’s professional road cycling.”
There will be the same 23 events, held in 10 countries and on three continents next year, with minor changes to the dates of each race to avoid the problematic overlaps that happened this year, namely between the Amgen Women's Race and the Emakumeen Bira. In May, Boels Dolmans announced that they could not return to the Californian race to defend Anna van der Breggen's title because they did not have the resources or the riders to compete in two international races, and the UCI told Cyclingnews that it regretted such conflicts on the calendar.
Next year, the Amgen Women's Race will be held from May 16 to 18 and Emakumeen Bira will follow from May 22 to 25 in Spain.
"The UCI is very pleased with the calendar which has no overlapping of events, therefore ensuring all races will have the best possible team participation," the press statement read.
The battle for the leader’s jersey of the individual ranking and that of the best young rider of the UCI Women’s WorldTour will begin on March 9 at the Strade Bianche, in Italy, and conclude on October 20 with the Tour of Guangxi Women’s WorldTour, in China. The 2019 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar will comprise 52 days of racing next year. However, La Course by Le Tour de France is listed as "to be confirmed", as event organisers ASO have floated between a one-day and two-day format over the years.
This year, the organisers of the Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta confirmed a two-day format, which will continue into 2019. The event will take place on September 14 and 15, with a team time trial the day before the traditional road race.
Since its creation in 2016, the UCI Women’s WorldTour has seen its audiovisual coverage develop at a very high rate. The number of television viewers for the series grew from over 80 million for the 2016 season to 124 million in 2017 (+55%). The number of broadcast hours has more than doubled to reach 650 hours, compared with 310 hours the year before. The audience perspectives for the 2018 season are encouraging as 15 of the 23 races are broadcast live, compared with 11 in 2016, according to the UCI's press release.
However, while some events have taken the extra step to bring in live television coverage and live streaming for their women's events, there are still many events that have not.
2019 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar
March 9: Strade Bianche (Italy)
March 17: Women’s WorldTour Ronde Van Drenthe (the Netherlands)
March 24: Trofeo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio (Italy)
March 28: Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne- (Belgium)
March 31: Gent Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (Belgium)
April 7: Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres (Belgium)
April 21: Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition (the Netherlands)
April 24: La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (Belgium)
April 28: Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes (Belgium)
May 9-11: Tour of Chongming Island UCI Women’s WorldTour (China)
May 16-18: Amgen Tour of California Women’s RaceWomen’s Race empowered with SRAM (United States)
May 22-25: WWT Emakumeen XXXII. Bira (Spain)
June 12-16: OVO Energy Womens Tour (Great Britain)
July 5-14: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile (Italy)
July 23 (to be confirmed) : La Course by Le Tour de France (France)
August 3: Prudential RideLondon Classique (Great Britain)
August 16: Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda WestSweden TTT (Sweden)
August 18: Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda WestSweden RR (Sweden)
August 22-25: Ladies Tour of Norway (Norway)
August 31: GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération (France)
September 3-8: Boels Ladies Tour (the Netherlands)
September 14-15: WNT Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta (Spain)
October 20: Tour of Guangxi Women’s WorldTour (China).