Women’s Tour gets live TV for first time, Challenge by La Vuelta reveals new five-day route

The women's peloton receives a boost after the two major races announce significant developments for 2022.

Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

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The women’s peloton got a big boost this week with two major races announcing significant developments for 2022.

The organizers of the Women’s Tour in the UK confirmed that it would have live television for the first time in its history, while the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta confirmed its expansion to five days.

Live television is a prerequisite of being a part of the Women’s WorldTour and SweetSpot, which organizes the race, has been criticized for not providing it. It had said last year that there would be live coverage for the 2021 race but later had to go back on that announcement after failing to find the fund to support it.

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Earlier this year, SweetSpot made a public plea for a sponsor to provide the £75,000 ($94,000) it needed to produce live pictures with accommodation company cottages.com coming forward with the funds.

“Delivering a live TV broadcast for the Women’s Tour has been our biggest target ever since the event’s inaugural edition back in 2014. We hope that it proves transformative for women’s sport in the UK, as well as being something that further enhances the worldwide reputation of our race,” Women’s Tour executive chairman Hugh Roberts said.

“We thank all of those partners and stakeholders who have come forward to support us with this, and hope that it inspires more major brands to showcase their support of women’s sport by joining up with our event for 2023 and beyond as we continue to look for a headline sponsor.”

The live coverage will be available on GCN+ while a highlights package will still be shown on UK television channel ITV. It’s not yet clear how much of the race will be shown live, but a schedule is expected in the coming days.

The Vuelta reveals five-day route

This year’s Challenge by La Vuelta will be the longest yet with five days of racing scheduled for the beginning of September.

Originally beginning as the Madrid Challenge in 2015, a one-day race around the Spanish capital to coincide with the end of the men’s Vuelta a España, the race has expanded over the years. It has also branched outside the confines of Madrid with last year’s event taking place in Galicia.

While the final stage remains connected to the route of the men’s event, the rest of the race takes its own path. The new five-day race will begin with a 19.9km team time trial around Marina de Cudeyo, up on the northern coast of Spain, with an undulating and twisting parcours.

Day two sees the riders head into the mountains with five climbs, including the first category Campo Layal, packed into a 105.9km route out and back from Colindres. This, along with the time trial, could be a very decisive day in the fight for the overall title.

After two days up on the coast, the race begins to move further inland with a short 96.4km stage from Camargo to Aguilar de Campoo. While the roadbook describes it as flat there is a 16km cat. 2 climb that peaks out with just under 33km to go could distance some of the sprinters before the line if it’s ridden hard enough.

The penultimate stage of the race is the longest with a 160km ride from Palencia to Segovia. The route is mainly flat, but it comes with a sting in the tail with an uphill finish into Segovia. The 2.4km ascent averages just under 4 percent with peaks of up to 7 percent.

The race will conclude with a fast and furious ride around the center of Madrid, with 17 laps of a city center circuit.

Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta route

Stage 1: September 7 — Marina de Cudeyo to Marina de Cuydeyo, 19.9km TTT
Stage 2: September 8 — Colindres to Colindres, 105.9km
Stage 3: September 9 — Camargo to Aguilar de Campoo, 96.4km
Stage 4: September 10 — Palencia to Segovia, 160km
Stage 5: September 11 — Madrid, 95.6km

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