The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) has promised that the biggest race in women’s racing, the Giro Donne, will “definitely” go ahead next year, despite its organiser deciding to drop the race from its portfolio.

Epinike has promoted the women’s version of the Giro d’Italia for the last three years but has not renewed its contract with the FCi.

“We have other good organisers able to make it happen,” Federation president Renato Di Rocco told Cycling Weekly.

“We certainly want to have it. We just need to wait until after the federation’s elections on January 12 to give it to a new organiser.”

Even if Di Rocco were to fail in his re-election bid, insiders say the race is too vital to disappear. The race celebrated its 23rd edition this year, when Emma Pooley (AA Drink) finished second to Marianne Vos (Rabobank). Nicole Cooke won the race in 2004.

“It would be terrible for women’s cycling if our Giro stopped,” Pooley told CW. “It’s the toughest and most glorious stage race we have.”

Evelyn Stevens, third overall this year, said it was the women’s equivalent of the Tour de France. “The Tour de l’Aude was up there but now that’s gone.”

Italian women’s racing promoter Mario Minervino said he would not take on the Giro Donne but is also convinced the race will be able to go ahead.

“I’m sure the federation wants the race, independent of who’s the president,” he said. “It’s a legacy of Italian cycling. it has to go forward. We will see someone step up.”

The man who may well end up doing that is Giuseppe Rivolta. Twice before he’s stepped in running the Giro Donne from 2002 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2009 as well as helping epinike run the event.

“Both times, the federation called me at the last minute,” rivolta said. “I’ll do it again, but I need to wait to have a contract in hand. If I’m asked, I’ll try.”

Women’s cycling also lost another event on Monday, with news that next year’s Tour of New Zealand had been cancelled due to the cost of complying with UCI drug-testing stipulations.

This article originally appeared in the December 13 2012 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.

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