• Cobbles baby! A women's Paris-Roubaix was unveiled when the UCI announced the revised men's and women's road cycling calendars on Tuesday 5 May 2020 (Getty)Source: Getty
A jam-packed four months with 41 races. And a women's Paris-Roubaix! Sure, the confirmed calendar announced last night by the UCI is dependent on the evolving coronavirus crisis, but at the spiritual home of road cycling in Australia, we're excited and we hope you are too.
Source:
Reuters
6 May - 8:08 AM  UPDATED 6 May - 8:40 AM

The COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on the cycling calendar but women pro riders were able to celebrate the addition of Paris-Roubaix for the first time ever when the International Cycling Union (UCI) unveiled its revised schedule on Tuesday (AEST).

The women's version of The Hell of the North will be held 25 October a few hours before the men’s race.

Organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), who own Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France, had been working on a major women’s stage race which was due to be held for the first time in 2021 after the Tour.

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, however, means it would have clashed with the biggest sporting event on the planet so the creation of that race has now been pushed back to 2022, Tour director Christian Prudhomme told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We had been talking to stakeholders of women’s cycling for five to six years now, including (14-time Olympic and world champion) Marianne Vos, and what she was telling us is that the women, more than a race, needed media exposure,” said Prudhomme.

“And Paris-Roubaix, the Queen of the Classics, will give them that exposure.”

The men’s elite Paris-Roubaix race is usually preceded by the juniors event, but the race for the U-18 riders was cancelled this year, leaving space for the women.

“In the future, we will have to find other solutions,” Prudhomme said when asked how the juniors race and the women’s event would be organised in 2021.

“In 2022, even if we can’t promise anything, there would be a logic in having Paris-Roubaix and the new stage race,” he added.

The details of the women's 2020 Paris-Roubaix will be confirmed soon.

International Cycling Union president David Lappartient said: “I’ve always been a great fan of Paris-Roubaix and we’ve been pushing a lot to help women’s cycling. We’re on our way to parity."

French rider Audrey Cordon-Ragot wrote on Twitter:

“A women’s version of Paris-Roubaix...don't look elsewhere for something more beautiful today.”

La Course will be held on the first day of the Tour de France in Nice on 29 August. 

The revised UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar kicks off 1 August with Strade Bianche and finishes 8 November with the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta and includes 18 events: 13 one-day races and five stage races.

 

The revised 2020 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar

-1st August: Strade Bianche (Italy)
-8 August: Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda West Sweden TTT (Sweden)
-9 August: Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda West Sweden RR (Sweden)
-13-16 August: Ladies Tour of Norway (Norway)
-26 August: GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération Trophée WNT (France)
-29 August: La Course by Le Tour de France (France)
-1-6 September: Boels Ladies Tour (the Netherlands)
-11-19 September: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile (Italy)
-30 September: La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (Belgium)
-4 October: Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes (Belgium)
-10 October: Amstel Gold Race Ladies (the Netherlands)
-11 October: Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (Belgium)
-18 October : Ronde van Vlaanderen (Belgium)
-20 October: Tour of Guangxi Women’s WorldTour (China)
-20 October: Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne (Belgium)
-23-25 October: Tour of Chongming Island (China)
-25 October: Paris-Roubaix (France)
-6-8 November: Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta (Spain)

Giro d'Italia, La Vuelta to be held in race-packed October

Giro d’Italia (starting 3 October) and La Vuelta a Espana (20 October) will overlap each other but the UCI said it had little choice.

Four of the top five one-day races will also be held in October, making for a frantic month of cycling following the coronavirus pandemic that has brought almost all of world sport to a halt since March.

“The Vuelta goes through the Pyrenees, and in mid-November it would have been too risky because of the weather and the lack of light,” UCI president Lappartient explained.

The World Tour season will officially begin on 1 August with Strade Bianche and end with the final day of La Vuelta on 8 November. Milan-San Remo will now be held on 8 August, while Liege-Bastogne-Liege is set for 4 October,  the Tour of Flanders 18 October, Paris-Roubaix 25 October and the Tour of Lombardy 31 October. 

Should the season not be completed, cycling could be “in a catastrophic situation,” Lappartient added. 

“Our sport is based on individual sponsors and that is what could save our teams,” he said.

The UCI said the new calendar would give different types of riders the most opportunities for races within a short time frame.

The sport’s governing body is now working on health rules for teams, riders and race organisers, and all cycling will remain subject to the progress of the coronavirus, president David Lappartient told reporters.

“We are monitoring the situation across the globe very closely and our project could change depending on the pandemic,” he told a video news conference.

The UCI last month said the Tour de France would be held from Aug. 29-Sept. 20 after the governing body suspended elite racing 1 August.

“Not having a Tour de France would be a disaster. If it cannot happen in September, I think we would be in a very, very difficult situation regarding the schedule.”

With almost 200 riders packed in the peloton at times and many thousands of fans lining the roads, cycling faces a unique challenge to keep its participants and supporters safe.

“There are a lot of questions. We are working on measures to impose on the organisers, on the teams and the riders,” said Lappartient. “It’s a big piece of work.”

Revised Men's UCI WorldTour calendar:

-1 August: Strade Bianche (Italy)
-5-9 August: Tour de Pologne (Poland)
-8 August: Milano-Sanremo (Italy)
-12-16 August: Critérium du Dauphiné (France)
-16 August: Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic (Great Britain)
-25 August: Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France (France)
-29 August -20 September : Tour de France (France)
-7-14 September: Tirreno-Adriatico (Italy)
-11 September: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (Canada)
-13 September: Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (Canada)
-29 September -3 October: BinckBank Tour
-30 September: La Flèche Wallonne (Belgium)
-3-25 October: Giro d'Italia (Italy)
-4 October: Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Belgium)
-10 October: Amstel Gold Race (the Netherlands)
-11 October: Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (Belgium)
-14 October: A Travers la Flandre (Belgium)
-15-20 October: Gree - Tour of Guangxi (China)
-18 October: Tour des Flandres (Belgium)
-20 October - 8 November: Vuelta Ciclista a España (Spain)
-21 October: Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne (Belgium)
-25 October: Paris-Roubaix (France)
-31 October: Il Lombardia (Italy)