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Why should it be longer?
We are at a point where the increasing professionalism in the women's péloton is seeing a greater move toward parity with regards to many Classics. Stage races are including longer stages, the UCI has increased the maximum average stage distance from 100km to around 125km, and lots of one-day races are becoming longer or including more obstacles - take the Ronde van Vlaanderen as an example, which has increased from around 130k to 160k over the last few years - as the strength in depth of the péloton is increasing, meaning it takes more to break the race up. I know that Petite-Forclaz is tough enough to break up the race, but the point of the World Championships is that it is, essentially, monument toughness, and if the rest of the big tough Classics in the women's calendar (they don't have monuments, though there has been some talk of awarding that kind of special status in terms of WWT points to the Trofeo Alfredo Binda due to its age and prestige in the women's bunch) are moving up to 150-160km kind of distance, a 120km World Championships is pretty weak.

To illustrate my point, here are some major championship road race distances in the last 10 years.

Mendrisio 2009: 124km
Geelong 2010: 127km
København 2011: 140km
London 2012: 140km
Valkenburg 2012: 129km
Firenze 2013: 140km
Ponferrada 2014: 127km
Richmond 2015: 130km
Rio 2016: 141km
Doha 2016: 134km
Bergen 2017: 153km
Innsbruck 2018: 156km
Harrogate 2019: 152km

Look at how the distances creep up when the WWT comes in, and we get more races at a solid level and more women able to make a respectable at least living from the sport. We have seen members of the women's péloton actively demanding longer and harder races, because they a) are fed up of being patronised, which is how many of them understandably see the persistence with short distances and races which omit the main obstacles, and the pattern of giving the men a much more interesting parcours, such as the ITTs at Bergen and Innsbruck, the Doha and Innsbruck road races, the Tokyo Olympic course, and events like the RideLondon crit and La Course; and b) because they want to be able to put on a show that can encourage people to tune in more and make the races more exciting to follow - the women regularly put on some great races, but when the ones that get the best coverage are 65km crits in London or Paris with no obstacles and inevitable sprint finishes, it doesn't let them show that. The Women's Tour raised the bar in terms of marketing and, although live, quality of highlight coverage a few years ago - but at the same time, the course design was very poor for the first couple of editions, leading to a race which didn't live up to the hype that the presentation about its swift-growing importance suggested - Emma Johansson literally told the organisers she wouldn't come back unless they designed a better course. Annemiek van Vleuten did the same to the Giro organisers in 2017. Cille has questioned unequal parcours designs and not being given the same opportunities to make an exciting race, Ash Moolman-Pasio has blogged on the subject, and van Vleuten has challenged the 2020 Olympic Road Race course. Gracie Elvin was less critical of the course, but criticised the restricted péloton allowed in the Olympic Road Race.

Similarly, look at de Ronde in recent years. From 2009: 132km, 119km, 130km, 127km, 127km, 139km, 145km, 141km, 153km, 153km, 157km (19% increase).
Ronde van Drenthe from 2009: 138km, 136km, 133km, 133km, 133km, 147km, 138km, 138km, 152km, 157km, 165km (20% increase)
Gent-Wevelgem from 2012: 114km, 112km, 115km, 117km, 115km, 146km, 143km, 137km (20% increase)
Trofeo Binda from 2009: 120km, 130km, 121km, 131km, 121km, 124km 124km, 123km, 131km, 131km, 131km (9% increase)
GP Vårgårda from 2009: 132km, 132km 132km, 132km, 132km, 132km, 135km, 141km, 152km, 152km, 152km (15% increase)

Other new races have either come in at longer type distances, or have swiftly grown. Strade Bianche has gone from 103km to 136km in 5 editions, Brabantse Pijl has increased from 122km to 137km in 4, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège has been introduced at 135km. Admittedly Amstel Gold and La Course are on the short side, and Flèche Wallonne remains in the 120km range, but I attribute that more to ASO's intransigence and reluctance to push the women's side of the sport in recent years than anything else. You can see a clear tendency towards longer races and tougher races if you monitor the women's péloton and its parcours over the last decade (there was something of a dip as a lot of the established names and the interest associated with them - Brändli, Luperini, Armstrong, Arndt and so on - fell away in the late 00s and early 10s, and a lot of long stage races that had been spluttering along died off in that period, like the Tour de l'Aude), and so among that, a one-off shorter Worlds mightn't be quite SO bad - but still a bit galling - but set alongside the Innsbruck debacle, Doha, Bergen, and especially now the insult of a Tokyo course, it feels like a pattern is not just emerging but has emerged here.

Or, to put it into a more simple explanation: the World Championships are theoretically to confirm who is the best. And as the overall quality of the péloton increases, it takes a harder race to satisfactorily isolate the very best from the very good, and therefore the difficulty of the World Championships relative to the rest of the calendar should be maintained, in order to ensure that they achieve their goal and maintain their prestige. As the rest of the calendar is increasing in distance and difficulty to reflect changes in the professionalism and depth of the péloton, so the World Championships therefore should follow suit to justify their prestige and esteem.
 
Reactions: Red Rick
Don't really know where to put this but really wanted to share it. So I just looked through some images from my old phone and found an article by sport.orf.at, one of Austrias biggest sports websites, I screenshoted. It's a little preview for Il Lombardia 2016 and I must have saved it because the favorites they suggested just seemed too ridiculous to be true

So they listed 6 favorites. They started off with Damiano Cunego, who hadn't done anything of note in years, Joaquim Rodriguez, who basically retired a few months earlier and only returned for lombardia because of contract obligations, and Philipp Gilbert who wasn't exactly in the climbing shape of his life in 2016 either.
Then they continue with Valverde and Aru, who to be fair were among the favorites, but then they finish it off by going full random and picking Robert freakin Gesink of all people. You know, those guys are getting paid for articles like this. I mean they just could have googled the betting odds for this race. Or maybe they did and the guy who wrote this thought he'd get the steal of his life by putting money on Cunego, Rodriguez, Gilbert and Gesink.
 
Don't really know where to put this but really wanted to share it. So I just looked through some images from my old phone and found an article by sport.orf.at, one of Austrias biggest sports websites, I screenshoted. It's a little preview for Il Lombardia 2016 and I must have saved it because the favorites they suggested just seemed too ridiculous to be true

So they listed 6 favorites. They started off with Damiano Cunego, who hadn't done anything of note in years, Joaquim Rodriguez, who basically retired a few months earlier and only returned for lombardia because of contract obligations, and Philipp Gilbert who wasn't exactly in the climbing shape of his life in 2016 either.
Then they continue with Valverde and Aru, who to be fair were among the favorites, but then they finish it off by going full random and picking Robert freakin Gesink of all people. You know, those guys are getting paid for articles like this. I mean they just could have googled the betting odds for this race. Or maybe they did and the guy who wrote this thought he'd get the steal of his life by putting money on Cunego, Rodriguez, Gilbert and Gesink.
Sports journalism is the easiest thing man
 
The nominated for the Velo d'Or:

Julian Alaphilippe
Egan Bernal
Richard Carapaz
Remco Evenepoel
Caleb Ewan
Jakob Fuglsang
Philippe Gilbert
Mathieu van der Poel
Primož Roglič
Mads Pedersen
Elia Viviani
Annemiek van Vleuten
One of those is not like the others! I honestly thought it was a male-only prize, but... guess not. Or maybe AvV just transcends stuff like that.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Do they have to nominate 12 riders? Surely nobody would select Carapaz, Evenepoel, Ewan, Fuglsang (unless he wins Lombardia), Gilbert, Pedersen or Viviani...
I don't get the inclusion of Fuglsang on your list of discardable riders? The rider of the spring along with Alaphilippe and van der Poel, monument winner, Dauphiné winner, possible Lombardia winner.
 
I don't get the inclusion of Fuglsang on your list of discardable riders? The rider of the spring along with Alaphilippe and van der Poel, monument winner, Dauphiné winner, possible Lombardia winner.
Although you you couls argue about their spring campaigns being equally impressive, I would still give Alaphilippe a slight edge. He won more races and a very wide variety of them. Imo, Ala's Tour exploits clearly overshadow Fuglsang's wins at Dauphiné and his Vuelta stage win.
Regarding Van der Poel, I don't know if this is a road-only award, but in my head I automatically added all of his CX and MTB wins to his already impressive road campaign.
In case of Fuglsang winning Lombardia, I would not further "discard" him, though ;)
 

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