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Route de France Féminine, France’s most prestigious women’s stage race, today announced it has cancelled the event due to a clash with the international governing body, the UCI.
A continuation of the Women’s Tour de France and the Grande Boucle Féminine, Route de France has been a well-respected event for the past decade, drawing top-level international competitors and breakout riders alike.
Hoping to become a Women’s WorldTour event in 2017, the organisers were turned down by the UCI as they were too late in submitting their request. As a result, the original event date of August 5-13 now clashes with the UEC European road championships and the Crescent Vårgårda WorldTour races in Sweden, which were previously held after the Route de France. For the Route de France organisers this would mean a serious dip in participation from top-level teams and riders.
Outraged by the UCI’s inconsistent calendar and implementation process, Route de France organisers took to social media and their website to lash out at the UCI.
“It’s simply scandalous, thank you UCI,” organisers Hervé and Brigitte Gerardin penned.
“Despite the strong desire of the organising committee to continue and put on the 2017 edition of the race, we have decided to challenge and show the Union Cycliste Internationale our disagreement on the procedure for setting up the Women’s Calendar…We denounce the inconsistency that has led to the cancellation of the Route de France.”
The Gerardins said they reached out to the UCI once the calendar was revealed in November to express their concerns and find a solution for the 2017 edition of their event, but nothing came of this.
“We are disappointed and obliged to note that we are faced with an institution that has no value and no respect for an organisation that has dedicated itself to the development of international women’s cycling for more than 10 years,” they penned.
The organisers apologise to all the sponsors, volunteers and loyal teams involved, and promise to fight for a 2018 edition of the event under the condition that they’re given “an honourable” spot on the women’s calendar.