WWT upgrades include development teams and maternity surrogates

Following management committee meetings that took place at the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong last month, the UCI tabled several changes to the Women’s WorldTour that will come into effect on November 1.

Some changes have already been planned as part of the governing body’s plan to grow the WWT, including raising minimum wages, which became a requirement for the first time on the Women’s WorldTour in 2020. Having started with just €15,000 the First year, the minimum increased to €27,500 for 2021 and will increase to €32,102, in line with the minimum set for men’s ProTeams for next year. the minimum that teams must pay their riders will rise again to €35,000 for 2024 and €38,000 for 2025.

There are still no minimum salary requirements for UCI continental teams which, as highlighted in The Cyclists’ Alliance women’s union’s annual survey, exacerbates a widening gap between the top and bottom echelons of the women’s pro peloton.

The UCI also outlined a neo-professional framework for the women’s peloton. Previously, new riders to the Women’s WorldTour had to sign up for a full professional contract.

Going forward, riders registered as neo-pros will receive a minimum salary of €26,849, rising to €31,768 for the 2025 season and teams will be able to hire neo-pro riders in addition to the maximum number of 20 riders currently allowed on their rosters.

As well as neo-pros, teams will also be able to bring in new recruits to provide maternity cover (provision of maternity leave is another requirement within the Women’s WorldTour framework set in 2020). The article includes the sanction of: “Introduction of the possibility for teams to register, at any time, a runner without a contract to replace a runner on maternity leave. Additionally, female runners can sign up for a UCI Team at any time at the end of their maternity leave.”

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Separately, in what appears to be a move inspired by Barbara Malcotti’s unfortunate disqualification from the Tour de France Femmes after she was serviced by the team’s only car in the race when returning from a breakaway rider, the governing body will allow more vehicles in races of six stages or more.

Team sizes for races of the same length will also increase to seven riders.

Article 2.2.003; 2.6.033 says: “For UCI Women’s WorldTour stage events of six stages or more, teams will be made up of seven regular riders. Additionally, teams will be able to enter a second team car in the race convoy.”

While many teams have unofficially served as development teams for years, the UCI has now introduced the possibility of an official structure for teams to create development squads to feed their elite teams “following the same process as the men’s professional teams.” “.

To qualify, the two teams must operate under the same paying agent and the kit and names must “share a common identity.”

Despite much attention being paid to development pathways, the UCI confirmed plans to wait until 2025 to introduce a separate women’s U23 race at the world championships.

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