Earlier this week, the UCI released its new proposed calendar for the 2020 season after racing was suspended due to coronavirus.
The new racing schedule also came with the surprise inclusion of a women’s Paris-Roubaix for the first time, which has been met with support and excitement from the pros.
But the announcement has also turned the focus on other prestigious races, notably the Tour de France.
Tour race director Christian Prudhomme has given an update on ASO’s plans to hold a real women’s Tour de France, which could be organised for 2022.
According to French news agency AFP (opens in new tab), Prudhomme said: “We want to expand. Step by step more women's competitions.
“The UCI clearly has a vision for women's cycling. We must continue to adapt. Our goal remains the same: planning a race after the Tour de France for men.”
ASO currently organises La Course by Le Tour de France, a women’s one-day race held during the men’s Tour de France.
Pros have criticised La Course for being too short and too easy, with Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) calling the 2019 edition “nothing more than a criterium.”
The closest thing to a women’s Grand Tour is the Giro Rosa, held over 10 stages also overlapping with the Tour de France, while planned Scandinavian race.
Battle of the North is expected to match the length of the Giro during its inaugural edition in 2021.
Prudhomme has previously confirmed ASO is working on a women’s Tour de France, but said that the event would not be help during the men’s race because it would be “logistically impossible,” he said
This week Prudhomme added “The calendar for this year is now fixed. There will be the Olympic Games next year, so 2022 makes the most sense.”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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