Procycling - - Women's 2017 World Tour - 1 Ni­cole Cooke 2 Olivia Gol­lan 3 Edita Pucin­skaite

With Am­s­tel Gold and Liège-Bas­togne-Liège ar­riv­ing on the cal­en­dar, for the first time, the women will be able to race the full Ar­dennes Week along­side the men.

There was briefly a women’s Am­s­tel Gold Race in 2001-3, but since its demise, the women’s pelo­ton have still raced the Lim­burg hills, with the Boels Rental Hills Clas­sic, and in re­cent years, the fi­nal stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour fin­ish­ing on the Cauberg - and of course, it was the home of the 2012 World Cham­pi­onships road race.

But rac­ing on the same roads at the same time as the men, with the same huge crowds and me­dia cov­er­age, is a step up from the pre­vi­ous events, and it’s a sym­bolic mo­ment for rac­ing in the Nether­lands, which is the heart­land of women’s cy­cling, be­cause of the sheer num­bers of rid­ers and races. It is sad for the events that had to move to make space for Liège and Am­s­tel, but on a broader level, this is mean­ing­ful for the sport in gen­eral, and for spon­sors es­pe­cially. These are house­hold names for Clas­sics fans the world over, and just get­ting to race them will bring ben­e­fits for rid­ers, teams and spon­sors.

Women haven't raced the Am­s­tel Gold for 14 years – this year it re­turns

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