The organisers of the Giro Rosa have hit back at complaints about the lack of live television coverage of this year’s race, claiming the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to sacrifice live coverage to ensure the race goes ahead.
Under UCI rules, all women’s WorldTour races must have 45 minutes of live television coverage to be part of the highest level of the sport. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a number of major race organisers to cancel their races in 2020 and the UCI has massively rescheduled the race calendar and ripped up parts of its rule book and added a strict COVID-19 protocol.
The Giro Rosa was originally scheduled to take place from June 26 to July 5, but was rescheduled for September 11-19 and reduced by one stage to nine days, as part of the post-COVID-19 revised Women’s WorldTour calendar.
Volunteers play a key part in ensuring the Giro Rosa goes ahead and Cyclingnews understands that the COVID-19 pandemic forced veteran organiser Giuseppe Rivolta to make several unexpected changes to the race route.
Television scheduling has also been cited as a problem, with Cyclingnews being told that the extra costs of paying increased expenses of the major WorldTour teams has also raised costs.
The UCI confirmed to Cyclingnews earlier this month that there would not be the mandatory 45 minutes of live television coverage at the Giro Rosa, but that organisers had agreed to provide 20 minutes of live coverage followed by an hour recap.
After growing complaints on social media and amongst riders at the race, however, the race organisers issued a statement explaining their decision to not have any live TV this year.
“We are fully aware of the importance, we could even say of the need, of live television broadcast of our race. This urgency has been in our thoughts since the first day we planned this year’s race and the same live broadcast should have happened,” the Giro Rosa statement sent to Cyclingnews reads.
“However, the situation that the whole world is experiencing in recent months does not escape anyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has put every possible human activity in check, upsetting the plans of every workplace. Added to this is a great difficulty, known to all insiders, to find space in the television schedules. For this reason, with deep regret, we are unable to ensure the live television of the race.
“Having to choose, we have decided to protect the women’s cycling movement and give up on live coverage; allowing the women to compete, which they absolutely need, especially in light of the many other canceled races.
“We can only repeat that we regret the decision but we are also certain and proud to have acted exclusively in the interest of the cycling movement.”
The Giro Rosa organisers explained that hour-long highlights of the race are produced by host broadcaster PMG Sport and are distributed by Eurosport, GCN, NOS in the Netherlands. Claro in Latin America and Mexico, RTVC in Colombia, , Spark Sport in New Zealand, SBS in Australia and Flobikes in North America.
Visit Cyclingnews‘ dedicated women’s page for full reports, results, news, features and galleries from the 2020 Giro Rosa.