In early August, the men’s WorldTour was expanded to include 10 new events for 2017. Following suit, the UCI announced that the Women’s WorldTour would be expanded to include four new events in 2016 including a newly announced women’s edition of Liège-Bastogne–Liège in Belgium on April 23. The other events that have been elevated to WorldTour status are the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands which takes place on April 16, the Ladies Tour of Norway from August 17 to 20, and the Boels Rental Ladies Tour in Belgium which will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 3.
The expansion means that the calendar has been expanded to 47 days of racing, a 30 per cent increase from the inaugural edition in 2016. The calendarbegins in Italy with Strade Bianche in March and is closed out by the Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta in Spain in September.
“It is very exciting to unveil this calendar which demonstrates that the positive momentum for women’s cycling continues to grow,” said UCI vice-president and president of the UCI women’s commission Tracey Gaudry. “In 2017, we will strengthen the UCI Women’s WorldTour events platform, including the sequence of races, their promotion and media coverage. We have retained all 17 already successful 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour events and added four spectacular new and exciting races.”
American Megan Guarnier won the overall classification in the first edition of the Women’s WorldTour with Canadian Olympian Leah Kirchmann in second place.
“The extended calendar reflects the significant progress being made to boost the profile and professionalism of women’s cycling and establish its status within mainstream sport,” explained UCI president Brian Cookson. “We will continue to move forward and look at ways we can further increase the exposure of women’s cycling in line with the UCI’s strategy for developing the sport.”