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Continuing its push to develop and expand women’s cycling around the globe, the UCI has confirmed a round of the women’s World Cup in the US next season plus plans to step up the staging of events across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Oceania.
The governing body presented a plan in Montreau, Switzerland, on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, informing stakeholders of the women’s side of the sport about its intentions for the next two years.
Under that plan, next year’s calendar will see a return of the World Cup to the US in June. Philadelphia will host the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, previously known as the Liberty Classic. Other locations around the world will also host single-day or multi-day events, thus continuing the momentum built by the staging of the inaugural La Course race on the final day of the 2014 Tour de France.
“We have taken another step in favour of women’s cycling,” said UCI Vice-president and President of the Women’s Commission, Tracey Gaudry. “The UCI Women Road World Cup seminar highlighted the progress already accomplished in 2014, which we are going to build on to raise and expand the platform for a new professional series.”
The UCI has released stats from the 2014 World Cup TV coverage, which was developed and financed by the governing body. A total of 152 hours of broadcasting was transmitted, something the UCI says was an eight-fold increase on what would had been done without investment by it, event organisers and sponsor The Sufferfest.
This footage was shown on 30 channels and, according to the UCI, watched by 15 million viewers worldwide. The UCI’s YouTube channel was viewed by nearly 300,000 people.
The UCI said that it and its partners would continue their collaboration next season in order to “fine tune a project intended to promote a larger and stronger platform for women’s road cycling.”
It said that the UCI and women’s commission would work with organisers, teams, broadcasters and sponsors in order to finalise these plans by the end of 2015.
As for 2016, the UCI proposes that its top series of road cycling will include one-day Classics and stage races and would ‘significantly increase’ the number of racing days during the season. It also plans a greater professionalism in relation to these events.
UCI president Brian Cookson said that he had seen a remarkable mindset during the seminar, and thanked people for their contributions.