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UCI downgrades RideLondon Classique due to “unacceptable lack of respect” for teams and riders

World cycling’s governing body says limited TV coverage of the Women’s WorldTour stage race breached UCI regulations

The RideLondon Classique, the three-day women’s stage race which forms part of the RideLondon cycling festival, has been downgraded from a Women’s WorldTour race to a ProSeries event after the organisers breached UCI regulations by failing to provide live TV coverage of every stage.

First held in 2013 as a one-day event, the RideLondon Classique was granted Women’s WorldTour status in 2016, the same year that it became the richest women’s race in the world with a total prize fund of €100,000, equalling the now-defunct men’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic. 

After a three-year break due to the pandemic and following the demise of the men’s race, this year the women’s event was expanded to a three-day tour – with a reduced prize pot – won by Team DSM’s dominant Dutch sprinter Lorena Wiebes, who took a hat-trick of stages on her way to the overall title. 

However, only the final stage was broadcast live on BBC Two, while highlights of the first two stages were made available on the BBC iPlayer and GCN.

> Prudential RideLondon to offer record prize money to women

According to the UCI’s rules, WorldTour events must provide live TV coverage of at least the final 45 minutes of each stage. ProSeries races, on the other hand, are only required to provide 20 minutes, either live or delayed, on television or streaming platforms.

As the RideLondon organisers’ failure to deliver live TV coverage of all three stages constitutes a breach of these regulations, the UCI has decided to demote the event to the second-tier ProSeries for 2023 unless assurances can be made regarding next year’s coverage.

“At the 2022 edition of the UCI Women’s WorldTour event RideLondon Classique (Great Britain), the event organisers did not provide the required live TV coverage of each stage, but only of the last stage,” world cycling’s governing body said in a statement.

“This constitutes a breach of the UCI Regulations and of the specifications that every organiser of the UCI Women's WorldTour is required to respect.

“It is also, first and foremost, an unacceptable lack of respect for the teams and riders involved in the competition.

“For this reason, the UCI Management Committee has taken the decision to make the registration of the event on the UCI Women's WorldTour calendar for the 2023 season conditional to the presentation of firm commitments concerning the live TV broadcasting of all the stages.

“In the meantime, the Management Committee has taken the decision to register the RideLondon Classique in the UCI ProSeries class for the 2023 season.

“For the UCI, daily live TV coverage of the UCI Women's WorldTour events, which include the most prestigious races in women's professional road cycling, is fundamental to ensure its continued international development.”

A final decision on the RideLondon Classique’s status will be made at a UCI Management Committee meeting in September.

> RideLondon-Essex riders halted for 30 minutes because of an incident

While RideLondon has been demoted to the second division of women’s cycling, the UCI announced that four other events – the Santos Tour Down Under, the new UAE Tour, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and the Tour de Suisse – have been granted Women’s WorldTour status for 2023, a development UCI President David Lappartient described as “evidence of the growing strength of women's road cycling”.

Following the meeting of its management committee earlier this week, the UCI also revealed, as we reported yesterday, that it plans to tighten the rules concerning the participation of transgender athletes in women’s cycling.

The new rules take effect from 1 July, and stipulate that athletes transitioning from male to female need to have had testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) for 24 months. Previously, the rules required testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L for 12 months. 

The UCI also confirmed in its statement that this year’s inaugural gravel world championships will take place in the Veneto region of Italy, on 8 and 9 October.

After the launch of a UCI World Series, the award of the first two editions of the UCI Gravel World Championships is an important step in the development of a fast-growing discipline that responds to the desire of an increasing part of the population to get back to nature,” Lappartient said.

“This new event shows that cycling never stops evolving – as demonstrated in track cycling for which we have just confirmed the calendar for the 2022 UCI Track Champions League – to ensure it is at the forefront of cyclists’ expectations, whether they are competitors or not.”

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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Awavey | 1 year ago

I think Tour de France Femmes is now the richest womens race in the world with a €250,000 prize pot, this years Ride London prize pot had also shrunk to €60,000, albeit thats still quite a bit more than most races

fwiw abit like the Gira Rosa's relegation from wwt status a few years back, the live coverage aspect was the technical relegation foul, but I didnt feel that Ride London Classique was that particularly well organised or promoted either, certainly based on other races organised on these shores, and not for wwt status races thesedays and that counts as to the feeling of the "respect" part from the UCI & teams,riders taking part, as well as the whole stage routes being a bit mickey mouse for a WWT level race.

as remember the BBC were making a big thing about how theyve signed a live coverage deal for next year with Ride London, so live coverage was assured, which maybe a ProSeries status jeopardises because literally youd just be left with development squad riders and probably a bunch of Tour series teams filling the ranks as the WWT calendar is now so full, possibly too full, WWT teams couldnt risk riding an extra race even for the big prize pot.

yupiteru | 1 year ago

Oh well, at least the plans to tighten the rules concerning the participation of transgender athletes in women’s cycling are good news, (even if they don't go far enough) we don't want cycling turning into the farce that swimming has become

jova54 replied to yupiteru | 1 year ago

You've probably seen this by now then.

Looks like Fina have stolen a march on everyone including IOC.

Jimwill replied to jova54 | 1 year ago

That mean that bloke can't swim against women then

Dogless replied to yupiteru | 1 year ago
1 like

Ah yes, the most pressing issue in women's sport, finally solved. Not the lack of coverage or prize money, or the women's races being run on non-closed roads, no, it's the testosterone of a handful of women that's the real danger. Weird how this topic has revealed all these previously silent women's rights advocates.

Velophaart_95 | 1 year ago

I had hoped we may see the Gravel World Championship become a season long series, like in motorsport. But, no, they've gone for the default 'one race' to decide a title......boring.....

kil0ran | 1 year ago
1 like

Gravel racing? Back to nature?? Does more harm than good.

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