The UCI has announced three new races to be added to the Women’s WorldTour calendar for 2018. The Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde, Emakumeen Bira and Tour of Guangxi will add six days of racing to the 46 days which currently comprise the series.
Held in May, Emakumeen Bira is a well established four stage race in Spain’s Basque country, the hilly parcours making for attractive, aggressive racing.
Over the years it has been won by some of the sport’s most illustrious names, including Leontien van Moorsel, Marianne Vos and Emma Johansson. The hilly parcours makes for attractive and aggressive racing.
The race applied for WorldTour status each year since the series began in 2016. Rather than being accepted it was forced to change states to accommodate other races in the series.
The Three Days of de Panne has traditionally been a men’s race, though was forced to re-structure when Dwars Door Vlaanderen became a WorldTour race and was granted a change on the calendar for 2018, taking De Panne’s traditional date.
The women’s race will be a one day event using the infrastructure of the men’s event which has been reduced to two days, and will add to a strong women’s Classics season.
The Tour of Guangxi is a new Chinese race held at the end of the season. This year’s event is ranked 1.1 and the UCI are hoping the 2018 event will attract all top women’s teams, especially as it coincides with the UCI’s Cycling Gala, its end of season spectacular.
There is already a Chinese Women’s WorldTour race, the three day Tour of Chongming Island, however it is often not well supported by the top teams, who tend to choose early May to recover from the spring Classics.
The Women’s WorldTour does not work in the same way as the men’s series, with teams not required to compete in all races. Instead race organisers are required to invite the top ranked teams to their events.
The Women’s WorldTour was introduced last year as a replacement for the World Cup, and saw the inclusion of stage races at the top table of women’s racing.
The governing body’s hope that it would provide a season long narrative seemed to have been realised, with much more interest in the individual and team classifications than is seen in the men’s equivalent.