The women’s editions of La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are to be left out of the Women’s WorldTour programme in 2020, race organisers have confirmed.
This comes after ASO, who also run the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, have refused to provide the 45 minutes of live television coverage that new UCI reforms will demand.
The president of the UCI’s Road Commission, Tom Van Damme, told DirectVelo: “One of the conditions for being in the Women’s WorldTour is the guarantee of live television coverage of at least 45 minutes, and ASO and the Walloon public RTBF are not able to provide this service next season.”
At the 2018 editions of La Flèche Wallonne, world champion Anna van der Breggen criticised ASO, the biggest race organisers in the sport, for not providing television coverage.
Speaking after winning her fifth consecutive Flèche Wallonne, the Dutchwoman said: “It’s time. It’s one of our biggest races together with Liège. We are fighting all day, we had echelons on the road, so it’s a pity you only saw the last climb because that is the end and the fight is before that.
“I think we deserve to have live coverage and that people can follow us because many people would like to.”
UCI President David Lappartient has previously warned ASO about their lack of coverage of women’s races: “I addressed the ASO, the organiser of La Flèche Wallonne, and told them that they do not comply with the requirements for WorldTour races,” he told Dutch broadcaster NOS last year. “I have asked them to make a serious effort to get their race on television.”
Lappartient says he also “dreams of a Paris-Roubaix Feminine” and was pushing for ASO to hold a ten-day women’s Tour de France alongside the men’s race in July, a plan described as “impossible” by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
Currently, ASO hold a one-day race for women, La Course, in July, which is part of the 23-race Women’s WorldTour for 2019.