Full Ardennes Classics week among highlights of Women’s WorldTour 2017 calendar

The Women's WorldTour increases the number of stage races on the 2017 calendar as a full Ardennes week comes into the schedule for the first time

The Women’s WorldTour will increase from 35 race days to 47 in 2017. The announcement was made on Saturday immediately before the elite women’s road race at the World Championships in Doha.

The main change to the programme is the addition of extra stage races. Last year’s series had just 22 days, but 2017 will see 32 days of multi-day racing, with the addition of the Ladies Tour of Norway and the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, both late in the season.

Other notable additions to the calendar are the recently announced Amstel Gold Race and the long rumoured Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes. They will join the long established Flèche Wallonne Femmes to form a full women’s Ardennes week for the first time.

These hilly races will form the final week of a busy spring of one day races, and precede a transition to stage races, which will dominate the remainder of the series.

The 2017 Women’s WorldTour will begin with Strade Bianche on March 4 and culminate in Spain on September 10 at the Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta.

Rumours recently began circulating of a multi-day La Course, the showcase race ASO organise for the final day of the Tour de France. It was expected the new event would consist of three stages, but this was not revealed by the UCI. However, that may change on October 18 when organisers ASO announce the route of the men’s race in Paris.

The series will contain perhaps the longest race name in world cycling, the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s race empowered with SRAM, being the women’s version of the Tour of California.

This year was the the first edition of the Women’s WorldTour, which replaced the World Cup and introduced stage races to the pinnacle of the women’s sport. The 2016 series was dominated by Lizzie Deignan’s (née Armitstead) Boels-Dolmans team, the Brit winning three of the opening five events, her Dutch teammate Chantal Blaak victorious in the other two.

In the end however, the team’s American champion Megan Guarnier won the series overall, with a series of podium places capped off by victory at the Tour of California, the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic and the Giro d’Italia Femminile.

Women’s WorldTour 2017 – Calendar

March 4: Strade Bianche
March 11: Ronde van Drenthe
March 19: Trofeo Alfredo Binda
March 26: Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields
April 2: Tour of Flanders
April 16: Amstel Gold Race
April 19: Flèche Wallonne Féminine
April 23: Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes
May 5-7: Tour of Chongming Island
May 11-14: Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s race empowered with SRAM
June 4: Philadelphia International Cycling Classic
June 7-11: Women’s Tour
June 30- July 9: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile
July 23: La Course by Le Tour de France
July 29: Prudential RideLondon Classique
August 11: Crescent Vårgårda team time trial
August 13: Crescent Vårgårda
August 17-20: Ladies Tour of Norway
August 26 GP: Plouay – Lorient Agglomération
August 29-Sept 3: Boels Rental Ladies Tour
September 10: Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta