Early season overview
The WWT calendar starts on March 5, with the Italian gravel classic Strade Bianche, and will feature 22 events in total—with 10 stage races in the mix. The Italian opener will be followed a week later by the Ronde van Drenthe, and that’s just the beginning of an action-packed spring! The Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race, the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are also on the program for the first part of the season.
Tour de France Femmes steals the show
Of course, the big star of next year’s calendar will be the first-ever Tour de France Femmes—the long-awaited offering from men’s Tour de France promoter a The women’s race will run July 24–31, one week after the men’s event, and it seems that it will replace the one-day La Course (which is currently absent from the calendar).
Although notably shorter, featuring only eight days of racing, ASO has promised that the women’s rendition of the race will, nevertheless, adopt the same codes, values, and symbols as the men’s event. The women will open this history-making event on the same day that the men finish the final stage of their race, both ending in Paris on the Champs-Elysées on July 24.
As celebrated by many in the cycling community, the women’s race will be sponsored by global online fitness platform Zwift. As such, the race will be given the official name “Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift” during its initial four-year partnership with the company.
📢 WOMEN'S TOUR DE FRANCE! 📢
The ASO is launching a new women's race, the "Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift," in 2022, with 8 stages and live TV broadcast.
🔗 Find out more here: https://t.co/tuH9js6xvu#tdf @gozwift @letour pic.twitter.com/l87D0obYKF
— Voxwomen (@Voxwomen) June 17, 2021
“Building an event like the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift means offering women’s cycling an event that is ready to highlight the sporting qualities of some exceptional riders,” said Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France. He went on to say that “the birth of this race represents the prospect of seeing a women’s race rise to the top of world sport.
Complete details of the Women’s race should be announced on October 14, when the 2022 Tour de France is presented at the Palais des Congrès de Paris.
Giro Rosa is back
Another exciting change on the 2022 calendar is the return of the Giro d’Italia Donne to the Women’s WorldTour. The race, more commonly known (and loved) as the Giro Rosa, has been restored to WWT status after being downgraded to 2.Pro status in 2021. This fan and rider favourite will run from July 1–10, two weeks ahead of the Tour de France Femmes.
More long stage races
In addition to the completely new additions, two other stage races will see a boost in race days for the 2022 season; the Ladies Tour of Norway will become the Battle of the North and unfold over six, rather than four, days in August, and Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta moves from three to four days in September.
In addition, two events that we haven’t seen in a few years will be back on the calendar for 2022. As it stands, Great Britain’s Prudential RideLondon Classique is scheduled for May 27–29, and the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden road race and time trial are scheduled for August 6–7.
Additional teams to compete
Finally, an exciting amendment to the WWT structure for 2022 involves how teams are invited to participate in UCI Women’s WorldTour events. From next season on, race organisers will be required to invite not only the 15 UCI Women’s WorldTeams, but also the two best UCI Women’s Continental Teams. This is very exciting news for a lot of fresh cycling hopefuls, and as stated by the UCI, the increase in the number of invited teams from 15 to 17 “aims to stimulate the development of women’s teams.”
That is certainly a goal that we can get on board with! You can find the complete Elite Women’s WorldTour calendar here.