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Calendar Madness!

2017 and beyond...

La Course by Le Tour de France Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The convening of the UCI pooh-bahs for the World Championships always results in news, and this year is no exception. For now, the exciting bits concern future races. Lots of this came out yesterday, a religious holiday for some of us, so pardon the delay, but here we go.

Women’s Tour de France... For Real?

The biggest news of the day yesterday was the twitter rumor cycle that the Tour de France was looking to expand the women’s race, La Course by Le Tour de France. This led, inevitably, to discussion of a women’s Tour de France, with actual stages and such. ASO were forced to pipe up and say that there will be changes in 2017, but nobody has said what exactly those will be.

Adding to the intrigue is the request by the UCI for the Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen to move its race up by two days, from July 14-20 to the 12th-18th. The Tour de France ends July 23d. Is that a sign that La Course is planning a multi-day event? Maybe!

Anyway, we should know more in a week. The live presentation of the 2017 Tour de France takes place next Tuesday, October 18. Stay tuned!

2019 Worlds to Yorkshire

I don’t know if there is anything unexpected about this news. The UCI chooses future championships each year, and previously announced Bergen, Norway (2017) and Innsbruck, Austria (2018) as future host cities. Next up was 2019, and Yorkshire, fresh off its Grand Depart hosting duties, was an easy choice for 2019.

The English bid bested bids from Canada, Colombia, Italy and Germany. I don’t know much about the details, but the fact that Goodwood ‘82 was the last championships held in the UK, and the UK has since become a cycling powerhouse, it made sense for Yorkshire to move to the head of the class. Probably didn’t help Canada and Colombia that we are currently coming off a second consecutive Worlds from outside Europe, and one that is looking like a terrible choice (in contrast to the successful Richmond events). The UCI takes its circus outside of Europe about once or twice a decade, and that limit has been reached. Moreover, Canada has (improbably) hosted the Worlds twice, and Colombia once as well as recently as 1995. Germany last hosted in 2007. So it was Yorkshire’s to lose. Apparently they threw some £24 million behind the bid, which sounds like a lot, and the rest is future history.

New Brugge race

The city of Bruges (Brugge), smarting off the loss of the Ronde van Vlaanderen start following that race’s move to Antwerp, is apparently ginning up a race of its own to be held in June, with an eye on the UCI calendar. The current proposal is a 1.1 rated race, which means up to 50% World Tour teams and a mix of pro-conti, continental and national teams to fill out the startlist. Obviously for a Flemish race they can do that standing on their collective heads. After that, all we know is that the one-day race will end in Bruges.

There is a vacuum to fill here, since de Ronde’s eastward movement leaves West Flanders out in the cold. Ah, sure, there’s always Gent-Wevelgem. But whatever, a West Flanders summer classic can’t hurt, right? June is all stage races for the big teams, so either this idea will blossom into a nice counterbalance for riders and teams who don’t have a Tour de France agenda, or it’ll just get kicked down below the World Tour level and do its own thing. Stay tuned.