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RideLondon takes place from 27 to 29 May 2022. Find out more about the 100-mile ride!

Guide to the WorldTour

About the UCI Women's WorldTour

‘Stages’, ‘seasons’, ‘elite’, ‘Classique’… It all sounds a bit serious, doesn’t it? Well, fear not – the RideLondon Classique, part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, is nothing to shy away from! Rather, it’s an amazing spectacle that displays women’s cycling at its best, for everyone to watch and enjoy – no matter what your background in the sport. Let us give you the low-down…

What is it?

Let’s start with basics – what even is the UCI Women’s WorldTour? Founded in 2016, the UCI Women’s WorldTour is a collection of the highest level of elite road races in the world and the new RideLondon Classique is one of them! The races are split between one-day races and stage races:

  • As the name suggests, one-day races involve one route, on one single day, where the first person across the line wins! (Football fans, think the knockout rounds of a cup competition – winner takes all.)
  • Also known as tours, stage races take place across multiple days – anywhere from three days to three weeks. A race takes place every day within that period (bar rest days), with a winner crowned every day. But, the overall winner of the tour is the rider who has the quickest accumulative time across all the stages – similar to a domestic league in other sports with the accumulation of points!

    Are you still with us? OK – great! The races within the tour are called ‘Stages’ and the overall victory is referred to as the ‘General Classification’, or simply the ‘Overall’. Some riders will ride specifically with the General Classification in mind, while others will just be on the hunt for Stage wins and less concerned about performing well on all the days.

Both types of races can be great fun to watch, with stage races having multiple storylines and one-day races being a straight shoot-out first to the finish. Every rider will accumulate UCI WorldTour points in each race they participate in, depending on where they finish. The leader of UCI WorldTour will wear a leader’s jersey – so look out for that!

Where does RideLondon fit in?

We know the RideLondon Classique is part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar. But where does it slot into the women’s pro race schedule?

The 2022 RideLondon Classique came after several top women’s one-day stage races, including the popular Strade Bianche, which courses across the white gravel roads of Tuscany in Italy. It also preceded other key stage races across Europe, such as the Tour de France Femmes in France. Here are some of the most notable races this year...

One-day races

  • 5 March: Strade Bianche, Italy
  • 27 March: Gent-Wevelgem, Tour des Flandres, Belgium
  • 10 April: Amstel Gold Race, Netherlands
  • 17 April: Paris-Roubaix, France
  • 24 April: Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Belgium

Stage races

  • 19-22 May: Vuelta a Burgos, Spain
  • 27-29 May: RideLondon Classique, Great Britain
  • 6-11 June: Women's Tour, Great Britain 
  • 1-10 July: Giro d'Italia Donne, Italy 
  • 24-31 July: Tour de Frances Femmes, France
  • 9-14 August: Battle of the North, Norway 

A brief history of the Classique

The RideLondon Classique has been a key part of RideLondon since the festival launched in 2013, as a legacy event from the London 2012 Olympic Games. The RideLondon Classique started life as a one-day race held each year on a Saturday evening in London, taking in a 5.5km circuit that started and finished on The Mall, and was added to the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar in 2016.

The first RideLondon Classique in 2013 was won by decorated British track and road cycling legend, Laura Kenny (need we say more?), and has continued to grow as a pro cycling spectacle over subsequent years. 

Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild is the most successful rider in the Classique’s history, having secured wins in both 2016 and 2018. Other winners include Giorgia Bronzini (ITA, 2014), Barbara Guarischi (ITA, 2015), Coryn Labecki (USA, 2017) and Lorena Wiebes (NED, 2019).

In 2022 – after being a casualty to Covid restrictions in both 2020 and 2021 – the RideLondon Classique returned with a new format, a new partnership with Essex County Council and new routes to boot.

The RideLondon Classique. Saturday 3rd August 2019

Three-day cycling theatre

The 2022 RideLondon Classique was the first to include three thrilling stages held over three consecutive days. The first two stages (Friday 27 and Saturday 28 May) whizzed through parts of Essex, while the third and final stage (Sunday 29 May) hit the iconic streets of central London.

Teams to watch

Cycling teams are ranked per their status, much like football. The top teams are ranked as UCI Women’s WorldTour teams and are invited to compete at all the highest-level races in a calendar year. The UCI Women’s WorldTour is growing annually with new teams being added every season. There are now 14 WorldTour teams, up from nine in 2021, with many of the men’s teams having a women’s equivalent.

Here’s our pick of the top three teams to look out for this season:

  • Already a powerful force in men’s cycling, Team Jumbo-Visma launched a women’s team in 2021 and had a great first season. The Dutch outfit brought a lot of learnings and professionalism from its well-established men’s team, taking victories at Gent-Wevelgem, Amstel Gold and Giro Rosa. Team Jumbo-Visma has also acquired the services of former USA National Champion and 2017 RideLondon Classique winner, Coryn Labecki  a super-speedy sprinter who can do some damage!
  • Movistar has been a big name in men’s cycling for years, having had a presence in the peloton since 2011. The cycling giant only joined the Women’s WorldTour in 2020 and initially struggled until the signing of Annemiek van Vleuten catapulted Movistar Team Women to the very top of the sport.

    The team is the current Olympic Time Trial Champion and one of the best all-rounders in road racing. In 2021 it won the Tour of Flanders and San Sebastian and triumphed in the General Classification at the Tour of Norway and the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta!
  • Now in its fourth season, Trek-Segafredo will be looking to improve on an impressive 2021, the highlight of which was British rider Lizzie Deignan’s iconic victory in the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes. (It's a race that cannot be described – you need to see it to believe it!) In addition to Lizzie, the super-strong team has the current World Champion Elisa Balsamo of Italy, exciting Dutch rider Lucinda Brand and Welsh U23 Cyclo-cross world champ Elynor Bäckstedt all on its books!

Riders to look out for

The UCI Women’s WorldTour is stacked, with new riders coming through every season – here are three names to keep your eye on this season.

  • Winner of the RideLondon Classique in 2019 and 2022, Lorena Wiebes is our reigning champion and one of quickest sprinters in the peloton, often coming out on top when the bunch heads to the line! The 22-year-old also picked up 13 victories in 2021, including two wins at the Giro, one at the Women’s Tour and first spot at Ronde van Drenthe.
  • Where do you start with Marianne Vos? Simply put, she’s the greatest female cyclist of all time and there’s a strong case that’s she’s the greatest cyclist of all time.

    By the age of 19 she was the World Champion in cyclo-cross and road racing and now, at the age of 34, she’s the most-decorated cyclist ever. When you visit her Wikipedia page you have to click a ‘more’ dropdown to see her list of achievements because it won’t load on a normal-sized webpage.

    In 2022 she won the Cyclo-cross World Championships for a record-breaking eighth time, 16 years after her first victory – and she's looking to add even more wins to her collection.
  • Our final rider to watch isn’t one of the biggest names in women’s cycling, but she’s well on her way to becoming one. Emma Norsgaard is a 22-year-old Danish sprinter who can time trial well enough to be the Danish national champ. She only turned pro in 2018 but has already won big races and 2021 was her best yet, throwing her hands in the air six times over the course of the season.

    Even though her Instagram profile describes her as a ‘chubby little sprinter’, don’t be fooled. We expect her to have a big say in the Classics for years to come!