Home > Uncategorized

Winners and losers of the revised WorldTour calendars

Forty-one events shoehorned into 100 days

On Tuesday, the UCI released revised calendars for the men’s and women’s WorldTours, salvaging something of the COVID-19-shortened season by shoehorning action into 100 days. The women’s schedule has only a couple of overlaps, but the men’s calendar is packed and teams will be stretched to their breaking points. What races benefited from the new season outline and which ones are hindered by their new spots?

Winners: Strade Bianche races. Anticipation will be very high by the time August 1 rolls around and the white gravel roads, likely to be dusty by the summer, are the setting for the return of cycling. Riders will be desperate to get some real race kilometres in their legs. Fans will be grateful to have something to cheer.

Longo-Borghini reels in and dispatches snake bit Niewiadoma in 2017 Strade Bianche. Won’t it be great when racing resumes?

Loser: Critérium du Dauphiné.
Sure, it’s still acts as the Tour de France’s form-tweaking stage race–in fact, of the two traditional Tour warm-up races, it’s the only one running with the Tour de Suisse cancelled until next season–but it’s cut down from eight stages to five. Even the Tour of Poland and the BinckBank Tour didn’t lose as many stages.

Winners: Postnord Vårgårda West Sweden races and Ladies Tour of Norway. Like the Laurentian Classics, this block of Scandinavian racing–a team time trial, a one day Women’s WorldTour races and a four-day stage race–got to keep their original dates, and they follow Strade Bianche in the revised calendar. Unlike the Laurentian Classics, there’s no conflict with other races.

Which leads to Loser: the Laurentian Classics The GP de Québec and GP de Montréal are situated in one of the two main squeeze points of the new schedule. To wit:
August 29-September 20: Tour de France
September 7-14: Tirreno-Adriatico
September 11: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
September 13: Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
September 20-27: World Road Championships, Aigle and Martigny, Switzerland
October 3-25: Giro d’Italia

Riders who aren’t included in the Tour de France will be eying the Giro d’Italia. Tirreno-Adriatico will act as the Critérium du Dauphiné/Tour de Suisse of the Giro, with a great summit finish showdown on Stage 4 and a pancake flat time trial on the final day. The two Grand Tours might directly and indirectly take riders away from the GPs, something the Laurentian Classics never faces in normal seasons.

Winner/Loser: Paris-Roubaix The women’s peloton finally has its own Hell of the North! That’s three Monuments that have men’s and women’s versions. Your move, RCS, make it five with Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia.

However, there’s a problem with both Paris-Roubaix races, which fall on October 25. That same day is the finale of the Giro d’Italia and a humdinger of a Vuelta stage in which the riders assail the Portalet, the Aubisque and the summit finish of Tourmalet over 136 km. There’s simply to much going on to give the one day races their due.