• Women's cycling fans can expect a lift in media exposure for UCI supported events in 2016 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
As part of their commitment to growing the profile and exposure of women’s cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) have announced a Women’s WorldTour for the 2016 race season.
Cycling Central

25 Sep 2015 - 11:58 AM  UPDATED 25 Sep 2015 - 12:04 PM

The UCI Women’s WorldTour (WWT), which commences in 2016, will become the leading series of races for professional female road cyclists. The WWT replaces the UCI Women Road World Cup, which ran from 1998 to 2015.

The 2016 WWT calendar will take the peloton to 17 events across Europe, the United States and China. The calendar runs from March to September.

A total of 35 days of racing includes, for the first time, multi-day events such as the Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain and the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile. The popular Amgen Tour of California and the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic will be held in the United States.

"The UCI Women's WorldTour will present a season-long calendar of events that will help build a strong narrative around our sport,” said Australian Tracey Gaudry who is the UCI Vice-President and Chair of the UCI Women’s Commission.  

“With riders battling for honours in one-day classics and stage races as well as for overall WWT rankings, I'm convinced we now have a premier product that will bring a whole new set of fans to women's cycling.”

The top 20 UCI Women’s Teams will be invited to participate in each event with some organisers choosing to offer a greater number of teams an opportunity to compete.

“The launch of the UCI Women’s WorldTour is a major step forward for women’s cycling and reflects detailed and very constructive discussions we have had with all our key stakeholders for more than a year now,” said UCI President Brian Cookson.  

“Growing the profile and professionalism of women’s cycling was one of my election pledges and so I am delighted that we have been able to reach agreement on the UCI WWT which will see competition days increase by more than 60% [compared to the women’s road world cup series] with the peloton taking place in 17 events across Europe, the US and China.”

Live broadcast and streaming, as well as highlight packages, are part of the UCI’s strategy to increase media exposure for professional women’s cycling.

The UCI invested in improving the broadcast of women’s professional cycling in 2014, resulting in an eight fold increase in viewership that year. Further progress is anticipated in 2015 once audience analysis is concluded, and the WWT will bring substantial growth and exposure to this side of the sport.