I am genuinely so excited about how much more professional women’s cycling we can see these days, and how relatively fast the changes have been. We’ve been able to watch the full women’s BMX World Cups, from qualifying up to finals, on BMX Live TV for a while now. And the full Cross Country MTB and the top Downhill finals in the Shimano MTB World Cups have been streamed on Red Bull TV for years too. Tissot Track World Cups in the UK are shown live on TV, with a version for people who might know less about the sport on the main TV and fan-version on the Red Button, and the UCI have shown a mix of the final World Cup session live and replays of previous sessions on the UCI YouTube for a long time. And this season, cyclocross stepped up to become easily the most visible of all the women’s cycling disciplines.
Apart from the occasional Dutch race, the UCI really started the ball rolling in CX, showing all the women’s Telenet Cyclocross World Cups on their YouTube for a few years, now – and last year Sporza showed all the IJsboerke Ladies Trophy races from the DVV Trophee, the Soudal Classics and more races, and licensed them to TV in the UK and USA, while some smaller series and USA races streamed theirs live. Finally, for the 2016/7 season, the SuperPrestige series was shown on Belgian TV too, meaning that every major, and a whole swathe of minor races were all live. It’s glorious!
Of course, road cycling is the hardest discipline to broadcast, logistically speaking, so it’s not surprising we get to see less of the women’s racing. And this year it’s an unfortunate coincidence that three of the races that have been streamed live have been cancelled – the Tour Femenino de San Luis, Ladies Tour of Qatar, and the WorldTour race, the Philadelphia Classic.
But on the other hand, last year we saw a significant amount more of the racing live than ever before, and it’s got to the stage where over the summer, I can count on having being able to watch live women’s road racing on 6 consecutive weekends. This year we’ve already had three women’s races broadcast completely live for the first time – the Mitchelton Bay Crits (videos in here), and the women’s races at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the Race Melbourne crit and the Deakin Women’s Race (videos in here), and I’m confident that we’ll continue to see more and more women’s races shown over the next few years.
So here’s my guide to which women’s road races I think we’ll be able to see live in 2017.
Of course, I’ll start with a caveat: these are guesses, based on what we’ve seen in previous years, so please don’t take it as set in stone, as I can’t promise they’ll all be shown. And of course, more might be added, and if they are, I’ll edit them in throughout the year. I’m focusing on road races, but I’ll put a guide to Crits in the USA and UK below – and you can find my tried-and-tested ways of staying in touch with races that aren’t being shown over here.