The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has confirmed that a new structure of women’s pro road cycling will come into effect at the start of the 2020 season. The main changes are detailed below…
Calendar: four event divisions
The women’s UCI Road International Calendar will be made up of the following four divisions: UCI Women’s WorldTour, UCI ProSeries, Class 1 and Class 2.
The UCI Women’s WorldTour will comprise a maximum of 23 events, while the UCI ProSeries will feature between 20 and 30 races. Class 1 will have 25 events, and Class 2 around 30.
The organisers of UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI ProSeries events will be required to abide by improved organisational standards, particularly with regard to television production. UCI adds that the past history (level of participation and number of years of existence) of races looking to join the UCI Women’s WorldTour or UCI ProSeries will also be taken into account.
Two types of teams
There will be two types of teams from 2020: UCI Women’s WorldTeams and UCI Women’s Continental Teams.
UCI Women’s WorldTeams will comprise between nine and 16 riders in 2020 and 2021, and between 10 and 20 riders in 2022. A maximum of 15 teams will be awarded a UCI Women’s WorldTour licence ‘on the basis of sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria, to which will be added an organisational criterion in 2021’. Licences awarded between 2020 and 2023 will be valid for decreasing periods of time (validity of four years for those issued in 2020, and then three in 2021, and two in 2022).
From 2024 the duration of licences will be determined by the UCI Women’s WorldTeams ranking: validity of four years for the top five teams in the ranking, three years for the teams ranked 6 to 10, and two years for the teams ranked 11 to 15.
The lowest-ranked UCI Women’s WorldTeam may be demoted to the second division if one of the UCI Women’s Continental Teams wishing to acquire UCI Women’s WorldTeam status is deemed, ‘on the basis of an assessment of ethical, financial, administrative and organisational criteria’, to be better. In the event of there being no difference between the teams, UCI notes that a decision shall be made on the basis of sporting criteria.
UCI Women’s WorldTeams may contribute to the development of women’s cycling by each recruiting two trainees (from second-year Junior riders to the Elite category), every year between 1 August and 31 December.
UCI Women’s WorldTeams will receive their licences from the Licence Commission and must engage in an annual UCI registration procedure.
As for UCI Women’s Continental Teams, they will comprise between eight and 16 riders and will be registered by their respective National Federations.
What types of teams will be taking part in the various events?
UCI Women’s WorldTour events will mainly be open to UCI Women’s WorldTeams and UCI Women’s Continental Teams, with a minimum of 15 participating teams and a maximum of 24.
UCI ProSeries events will be open to UCI Women’s WorldTeams (minimum of four/maximum of 10), UCI Women’s Continental Teams, National Teams and a maximum of two regional teams and/or clubs from invited countries, with there also being a minimum of 15 teams and a maximum of 24 taking part.
Class 1 events must have a minimum of 15 teams on the start line (UCI Women’s WorldTeams – from one to five – UCI Women’s Continental Teams, National Teams and regional teams and/or clubs.
Finally, Class 2 events must feature a minimum of ten teams of four riders (from all the aforementioned categories of teams, with the exception of UCI Women’s WorldTeams, to whom are added mixed teams, which are made up of independent riders brought together for a single race).
Rankings: no change
UCI continues… ‘The rankings will stay as they are: calculated on the basis of all the events on the women’s UCI Road International Calendar, the individual, team and nation UCI World Rankings will continue to exist alongside the UCI Women’s WorldTour individual, team and best young rider rankings. ‘
Introduction of a minimum salary and other benefits
As of 2020, UCI Women’s WorldTeams will be required to pay their riders a minimum salary (not including prize money).
The salary will be €15,000 in 2020, €20,000 in 2021, €27,500 in 2022, and then, from 2023, the same as that paid to existing men’s UCI Professional Continental Teams.
Neo-pro status will be introduced for UCI Women’s WorldTeams in 2023.
UCI adds that riders will also enjoy the following benefits:
- Maximum 75 days of racing a year (not including individual races and national team appearances)
- 30 days’ holidays (not including individual races and national team appearances)
- Sickness cover
- Maternity cover
- Pension savings scheme from 2022
- Other types of cover (hospitalisation and repatriation, accident, life, invalidity, etc)
Between 2019 and 2022, UCI will contribute to a 10% increase per season in prize money for the top 20 riders in each race on the women’s UCI Road International Calendar. Prize money will also be made available for riders finishing 16th to 20th in stage races. As of the 2022 season, riders will receive 50% of the total prize money for the general classification at the end of stages (instead of 20% previously), bringing the system into line with the men’s.
UCI Women’s WorldTeams and UCI Women’s Continental Teams will receive a participation allowance for UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI ProSeries events.