How should a new U23 rainbow jersey for the 2022 Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia be implemented?

2021 World Road Championships Women

The Cyclist Alliance undertakes survey to find out what riders want

In September this year, UCI president David Lappartient indicated that the sport’s governing body is in a position to open up a new U23 category for the 2022 Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia, but that this would be part of the existing elite women’s road race. This would mean that the first rider aged under-23 to cross the line would be crowned the first U23 world champion and receive a rainbow jersey.

The Cyclists’ Alliance has gathered feedback from the professional women’s peloton, by running a survey. This is important to obtain the opinion of the riders themselves - in order to be able to fully discuss the topic.

The clear outcome of the survey is an overwhelming desire for a standalone U23 category in the World Championships. 97% of all survey participants responded requesting a separate race for the U23 category.

70% of participants were also in agreement that if this could not happen for the road race, a separate ITT for the U23 category would be a positive step. Another temporary suggestion supported by riders is putting more thought into the composition of the team selection. This would be discussed between riders/teams before a decision was made. In addition it was also suggested that, if a separate race is not possible, elite riders within the peloton would welcome a greater quota of U23/Junior riders alongside the places already offered.

Survey respondents also criticised the UCI’s suggestion of a mixed U23/Elite category. 67% of participants believe that there should be additional quotas for U23 riders within each national team if both categories are combined in one race expressing concern that if the two races were run concurrently, this would cost places for elite riders. There was also concern this may create dangerous race conditions, as there would be different tactics happening in a single race.

Overall, the data collected from this survey is very clear and The Cyclists’ Alliance believes a separate race category is paramount to help develop riders as they transition out of the junior category and provide a pathway for creating greater depth in riders ability and technical skills before they transition to the Elite category.

Following the survey, the The Cyclist Alliance  asks the UCI to (1) take this feedback gathered and presented by TCA into account and (2) to consult with TCA, the riders, the teams, National Federations and the athletes road commission representative to develop the Women’s junior and U23 categories and the addition of an U23 rainbow jersey at future World Championships.

"There have been some significant positive changes in women's cycling in recent years, particularly with the new World Tour system in place. TCA is proud of playing a big part in some of these changes and supporting a separate U23 women's category at World Championship level, as well as the introduction of U23 races within the season, is the next logical step in continuing the progress in elite women's cycling and creating an environment where young women can develop and thrive.”



Run by former and current pros, The Cyclists’ Alliance is a foundation, funded purely by donations and subscriptions, that provides holistic support to professional female cyclists during and after their careers. We work hard to secure fairer pay for female athletes, resolve disputes with teams, provide emotional and economic support, and elevate the appeal of women’s cycling.

The independent union, The Cyclists’ Alliance is reliant solely on donations, sponsors and member subscriptions, has the set aim of delivering a safe and stable working environment for 100% of professional female cyclists and the aims of the The Cyclists Alliance Medical Framework will ensure that riders physical and mental health is the top priority to ensure they are safe to race.

The Cyclists’ Alliance is advocating for the national and international governing bodies of cycling to implement the following minimum standards:

  1. All riders to earn a minimum salary
  2. All riders to receive maternity leave (not just for WTT riders)
  3. All racing and training expenses covered
  4. Paid vacation days and a mandatory minimum vacation block
  5. All support team members to be qualified, checked and professional
  6. All riders to receive life insurance, permanent total disability insurance and repatriation insurance as standard
  7. A universal standardised approach to race safety

If you’re passionate about joining our movement for change, want to fight for fairness and the TCA, please visit for more information about our Supporter (€35), Rider Sponsor (€60) and Sponsor (donations from €500)




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