The BBC will broadcast coverage of all nine of the UCI Women Road World Cup races in 2014, with production by the same company behind ITV4’s award winning Tour de France coverage. The competition also features for the first time in our Fantasy Cycling game.
The coverage will be produced by VSquared TV, and builds on the YouTube hosted on the UCI’s channel on the video-sharing site for the 2013 Women’s Road World Cup, which it heralded as unprecedented coverage at the time.
This season, the UCI will once again be releasing the programming through its YouTube channel, but it will also be broadcasting races and highlight packages through a number of international broadcasters, including the BBC.
A news round-up of the day’s racing in Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe, the first race of the UCI Women Road World Cup, will be broadcast on the evening of March 15.
It doesn’t currently appear on the BBC’s schedule for that evening, which could mean it will be broadcast online and/or via the Red Button.
News round-ups and highlights packages will then be produced for the season’s eight remaining races, all to be broadcast on the evening of the event, with the calendar as follows:
Round 1 15/03 Ronde van Drenthe (Netherlands) Round 2 30/03 Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio (Italy) Round 3 06/04 Tour of Flanders (Belgium) Round 4 23/04 La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (Belgium) Round 5 18/05 Tour of Chongming Island World Cup (China) Round 6 03/08 Sparkassen Giro (Germany) Round 7 22/08 Open de Suède Vårgårda TTT (Sweden) Round 8 24/08 Open de Suède Vårgårda (Sweden) Round 9 30/08 GP de Plouay (France)
Throughout the season VSquared TV will also produce six feature broadcasts about women involved in elite and high level cycling. The aim of these will be to put the leading and most inspirational female figures of cycling into the public eye to inspire grassroots cyclists.
The UCI’s focus on women’s racing has certainly shifted since the election of Brian Cookson as President of the UCI last year.
Whether or not the decision to broadcast the Women’s Road World Cup came directly from Cookson is not known.
But his influence in raising the profile of women in the sport has been felt through the creation of the UCI Women’s Commission last year, and the appointment of at least one woman to every other UCI Commission.
Cookson was quick to praise the “incredible work” of the race organisers for their help in raising women’s cycling’s profile.
He said: “We are extremely fortunate to have the support of the race organisers for this initiative. Their dedication and incredible work has already had a large part to play in the growing success and popularity of women’s cycling.
“By staging exciting and high-level events, they are improving its image and generating more interest from the fans.
“This is an exciting and positive year for women’s cycling. With the launch in 2014 of La Course by Le Tour de France on the last day of the Tour de France and now this increased visibility of our leading professional women’s cycling series, it is clear that real momentum is building.”
This year will also see the debut edition of the Women’s Tour in Great Britain in May.
The broadcasts are not restricted to the UK. RAI Sports in Italy, NOS in the Netherlands, and Canal+ in France have also secured the rights to the footage, while discussions are ongoing with a number of other international broadcasters.