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ASO bins Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne from Women's WorldTour after refusing TV coverage

Races will drop down to second-tier events in big blow for women's cycling

Joe Robinson
17 May 2019

Women's cycling took another blow yesterday as race organiser ASO confirmed it would be pulling Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne from the Women's WorldTour after refusing to provide live televised coverage of the events.

According to reports by DirectVelo, ASO, which also looks after the men's Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix, is unwilling to provide the necessary 45 minutes of live television coverage.

The UCI, cycling's governing body, demands this limited coverage in order for a women's race to qualify for WorldTour status as well as video highlights and online race information.

However, as confirmed by the president of the UCI's Road Commission, Tom Van Damme, ASO and Walloon broadcaster RTBF are unable to meet these requirements.

'One of the conditions for being in the Women’s WorldTour is the guarantee of live television coverage of at least 45 minutes, and ASO and the Walloon public RTBF are not able to provide this service next season,' Van Damme told DirectVelo.

This will see the two major one-day races demoted to ProSeries level, a new second-tier category of racing set to be introduced in 2020.

The decision of ASO to pull its events from the Women's WorldTour should not come as too big a surprise. 

It has been long-rumoured that ASO was ready to pull both events from the calendars due to mounting costs and an inability to meet the UCI's requirements this spring.

ASO's inability to provide live broadcasting of the race will be frustrating to many in the women's sport.

Not only is ASO one of the wealthiest and most powerful bodies in cycling, with the resources to ensure television at its events, but both the women's Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège run concurrently with the men's races, on the same courses, which are fully televised.

The removal of these marquee races from the Women's WorldTour will also likely further the sour relationship between ASO and the UCI. 

Previously, UCI president David Lappartient has criticised ASO for failing to support women's cycling, particularly in regards to a women's Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix.

There have also been worries that ASO has considered pulling the Tour de France from the men's WorldTour in a power struggle between the two organisations.

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