After the World Tour last week now for a look at the full pro calendar. The World Tour might have retreated from China but there are 48 days of racing in the country, more than the USA, Britain and Australia… combined.
The wider calendar has all the .HC and .1 rated races around the world on the UCI Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa Tours as well as the World Tour, so the Tour de France, the spring classics but also the Tour of Langkawi (pictured) and more. There are 194 races – a grand tour counts as one race – with a total of 606 days of racing.
To explain the status of these races:
- the World Tour races must invite all the UCI WorldTeams, normally the top-18 teams with a licence to ride. They have the automatic right to ride all these premium races. The race can then invite other teams but only from the UCI Pro Continental tier
- HC is hors catégorie or “beyond categorisation”, a hyperbolic term for a race which the UCI is perfectly capable of labelling. In practical terms these races can invite up to 70% of the field of World Tour teams and the remaining 30% to UCI Pro Conti teams and then Continental teams from the home country
- .1 are races where no more than 50% of the field can comprise of World Tour teams, the rest is made up of Pro Conti and Conti teams and national squads (ie France, Italy)
- .2 races are not included in the calendar analysis here as if they’re on the international calendar they can only invite local Pro Conti teams and the field can include regional and club teams
But where are all these races? The chart below shows the number of events and race days by country. Only countries with two or more races feature.
You can see France’s pre-eminent position on the calendar. The Tour de France helps but there’s the Dauphiné and Paris-Nice and many more stage races from the five-day Four Days of Dunkirk to the Route du Sud and then a long tail of .1 one day races like the new Clasica Corsica or the very old Paris-Camembert. Flick to the number of race days and China surges to fifth place thanks to five long stage races including the 13-14 day Tour of Qinghai Lake. There are no international-level one day pro races on the pro calendar. Britain gets some new races with the ASO Yorkshire 3-day plus a new event in Wales.
The chart above shows the amount of racing month by month. Unlike the World Tour which emerges in January and hibernates until March, there’s a busy calendar of racing February and an even mix through the year. May stands out with 98 days of racing, or over 3 races a day. While you might watch the Giro and Tour of California in May there’s also the eight day Tour of Japan and the six day Tour of Iran among others.
Like the World Tour analysis this is just a count of days. One minute of mid-stage airtime in the Tour de France can bring more valuable publicity than an outright win in a lot of the races above. But still the count helps display some facts, there might be more races in China than you imagined but the calendar is probably even more French then you thought too. The full calendar has a broad mix of races around the world but with 44 races France alone has almost a quarter of events worldwide. France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain stage over two thirds of the pro calendar.