Women’s live race coverage can sometimes be patchy in cycling but usually UCI World Championships are an event that can be relied on to always deliver. That, however, doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to the UCI Gravel World Championships in Italy’s Veneto region this year.
In the first edition of the UCI World Championships in gravel, a discipline which has historically evolved with equity as one of its cornerstones, there was live streaming of both the women’s and men’s races, so it came as a surprise when it emerged just before the event, via social media, that this wasn’t going to be the case in 2023. A broadcast of Sunday’s men’s elite race will be available, but not Saturday’s women’s event, which is filled with a deep field of top riders from across disciplines.
“Sadly the women’s is not being broadcasted so we cannot provide footage,” said GCN Racing on social media in reply to a query on whether it had coverage of the race for the gravel rainbow jersey this year. They will, however, have access to footage of the men’s race on Sunday.
The provision of live race coverage has been an ongoing issue in women’s road racing even in the very top tier of racing. The Giro d’Italia Donne being downgraded from Women’s WorldTour status for a year after not delivering the required live coverage of the 2020 event. RideLondon Classique was also temporarily put in the calendar as a 2.Pro event for 2023 after failing to meet its live coverage requirements in 2022, however was put back to its top tier status when the organisers provided evidence of a contractual commitment to broadcast all stages of the race live this year.
Still, a live broadcast of both the men’s and women’s racing across the UCI World Championships has long been a given across the disciplines such as road, cyclocross and mountain biking, as well as being routinely delivered in World Cups across the off-road racing.
Cyclingnews has contacted the UCI seeking comment on the lack of broadcast for the women’s race at this year’s Gravel World Championships and will provide updates on any further developments.
The apparent lack of live coverage comes in an edition of the Gravel World Championships that has had its share of challenges, with the organisers of the race changed last minute and course details released just three weeks out. Nevertheless, the growing discipline has attracted a bumper field for the women’s race, with the start list running to well over…