The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), representatives of women riders (CPA Women, and Marianne Vos in her role of member of the UCI Athletes’ Commission and riders’ representative on the UCI Road Commission), organisers (AIOCC and organisers of UCI Women’s WorldTour events) and women’s teams (UNIO*) have joined forces to enable women’s road cycling to come through the current crisis (coronavirus pandemic) in the best possible conditions with a view to the resumption of the 2020 season.
As a reminder, the UCI confirms that as of today, organisers of some 800 events across all disciplines and categories have requested the postponement or cancellation of their event. This represents over a third of the UCI International Calendar. The freezing of international events concerns men’s and women’s races, notably - for women -, those of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. The leading series for women’s road cycling has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic: until now, only the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – Elite Women’s Race (Australia) has been able to take place on its scheduled date (1st February 2020).
In this context, that is difficult for all concerned parties, the UCI has been in contact over the last several weeks with all stakeholders of women’s and men’s professional road cycling, working with them to draw up revised calendars for the 2020 UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI WorldTour. To do this, the UCI must take multiple elements into account, in particular the fact that certain organisers hold a women’s event and a men’s event conjointly, the diversity of national situations (different measures imposed by each government, in particular concerning major events), and the diverse technical means and resources available to different teams in order to resume racing.
Within this general framework, the UCI has already held several constructive meetings with the representatives of women riders, organisers and women’s teams mentioned above.
After several weeks of discussions and collection of input – including from health authorities of concerned countries -, the UCI today feels it has enough information to be able to shortly propose a first revised project for the 2020 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar.
In agreement with the participants of the discussions, the UCI indicates at this stage the following decisions:
- The meeting of a working group with the primary mission of proposing a restructured 2020 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar, in line with the recent commitments of the UCI and concerned parties. This group is made up of representatives of the UCI, the AIOCC, UNIO, CPA Women and the UCI Athletes’ Commission.
- The revision of the participation rules and of the number of riders per team at the start of races on the women’s 2020 UCI International Road Calendar (including UCI Women’s WorldTour races).
- The implementation of the framework agreement made between the UCI and representatives of riders and teams. This agreement enables teams facing serious financial difficulties in the current context of the pandemic to take necessary measures for their survival while preserving the rights of their riders and staff. This measure had already been introduced for men’s professional cycling.
- The members of the working group have agreed to meet regularly to closely follow the world health situation and its impact on women’s professional road cycling, and to take appropriate measures in the interests of our sport. The objective of the working group, which will hold its first meeting this week, is to announce by 15 May at the latest, a new version of the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar.
The conclusions of the working group will be communicated at the earliest opportunity so all stakeholders can get organised as well as possible for the resumption of racing.
In these difficult times marked by forced inactivity that is extended at least until 1st July (1st August for the UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour), the UCI appreciates the solidarity and collaboration shown by the principal players of women’s professional road cycling. Only this united spirit can guarantee the future of women’s professional road cycling, the development of which, in line with the UCI’s Agenda 2022, is a priority for our Federation.
The UCI President David Lappartient declared: “The coronavirus pandemic has hit our sport hard, leading to a brutal halt to the season with dramatic sporting and financial consequences for organisers, teams and riders. This comes in a period where several important steps initiated by the UCI in favour of women’s professional road cycling, such as the introduction of a minimum salary at the level of UCI Women’s WorldTeams, have just been realised. The UCI and, notably, the CPA Women, Marianne Vos in her role of member of the UCI Athletes’ Commission, organisers and UNIO, are working together to put women’s professional cycling back on track, in particular with the establishment of a revised 2020 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar. With our partners, we will propose new dates for UCI Women’s WorldTour events as soon as possible, naturally in so far as the world health situation enables us to do so. Faced with this immense challenge, we must more than ever remain united, responsible and strong to get our sport back into action, all the while maintaining the priority of the health of athletes and all concerned parties."
CPA Women Manager Alessandra Cappellotto declared: “The UCI’s long-term collaboration with the CPA extends to the association’s women’s arm, and we are working together to put in place measures for women cyclists in the current difficult context. Our recent meetings have been fruitful, and CPA Women looks forward to contributing to the efforts of the working group to ensure riders’ voices are heard and appropriate action is taken.”
UNIO President Ronny Lauke declared: “As a newly-created association of women’s professional teams, we are delighted to work alongside the UCI and other cycling stakeholders to help women’s road cycling face the effects that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the 2020 season. We are all united in pursuing the same objectives: the health of riders, the security of their teams, and the revision of the 2020 UCI International Calendar.”
* UNIO is the association formed by and representing women’s professional cycling teams registered with the UCI. To date it comprises 22 teams including 5 UCI Women’s WorldTeams and 17 UCI Women’s Continental Teams. The UCI welcomes this initiative from the concerned women’s teams and looks forward to collaborating with this organisation which it hopes will see a further increase in the number of its members.