The long-awaited course details of the Wollongong World Championships have been released with key Road Race points including a remote start at Helensburgh and circuits of Wollongong including multiple climbs of Mt Keira.
Full course details such as neutral zones, overall race distances and number of circuits of the city and Mt Keira loops are yet to be released.
Launched in Wollongong today, the 2022 UCI Road World Championship courses cover a wide selection of the topography of the region, from the coast to the city to the escarpment that encircles the area. There’s a beach-front finish line at City Beach and of course the inclusion of the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.
Wollongong will welcome more than 1,000 of the world’s best cyclists to compete for a coveted rainbow jersey from 18-25 September 2022. Eleven Road Race and Time Trial medals will be contested in front of an estimated 300,000 spectators and more than 300 million viewers globally.
The Championships will open on Sunday 18 September with the double header of the Women Elite and Men Elite Time Trials. It is the first time in the history of the UCI Road World Championships that both these time trials will be raced on the same day and over the same distance.
A city-based circuit will be used for all Time Trials, with the Elite athletes completing a slightly longer distance that stretches north to Towradgi Beach and back to the heart of Wollongong.
The Time Trial course includes Squire’s Way – running parallel with the popular Blue Mile shared cycle pathway – from public hub Thomas Dalton Park, past the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus to the beachside Stuart Park where recreation activities take place daily. The circuit culminates with a sprint along Cliff Road, past the Wollongong lighthouse at Flagstaff Hill through to the finish line on Marine Drive adjacent to the beautiful City Beach.
The Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s Road Races will take place on the weekend of 24 and 25 September over three main components – the Helensburgh remote start, the Mount Keira Loop, and Wollongong City Circuit.
Starting in the hamlet of Helensburgh, bordering Royal National Park north of Wollongong, the peloton will travel south to Stanwell Tops before passing by the region’s famous Bald Hill lookout and descending toward the city via Coalcliff and along the inimitable Sea Cliff Bridge. The athletes will traverse the northern beaches of the region including Stanwell Park, Coalcliff, Clifton, Scarborough, Wombarra, Coledale, Austinmer, Thirroul and Bulli, heading to Wollongong.
The Mount Keira loop features a substantial climb into the dramatic escarpment, peaking at 473m elevation. The mountain is favoured among local riders for its tough ascent, stunning sub-tropical surrounds and the lightning-fast descent through Kembla Heights, Cordeaux Heights and out to Port Kembla steelworks, the industrial heart and economic birthplace of the city.
Wollongong City Circuit – which is also the course for the Junior and Under 23 riders – is a technical route through the suburbs of Gwynneville, Mount Ousley, Mount Pleasant, Fairy Meadow and North Wollongong. The steady ascent along Mount Ousley Road to Mount Pleasant is deceptively tough – it features an average gradient of 7.7% and a maximum of 14% to reach a maximum elevation of 119m.
During the week, individual time trials and road races for Men and Women Junior and Men Under 23, as well as the team time trial mixed relay, will take centre stage, providing opportunities for spectators – including local aspiring riders – to see the emerging stars of the sport battle for podium finish.
Wollongong 2022 Chair Dean Dalla Valle said the courses and schedule captured the very best of the region. “Wollongong is a city that is rich in diverse, natural assets including a coastline that encompasses remarkable cliffs, crystal clear water and golden sandy beaches which contrasts with the abundant escarpment,” Mr Dalla Valle said.
“These features will shine on the broadcast and be an appealing drawcard for spectators, the UCI and the athletes who have not competed in Australia for several years.
“We are so excited to unveil the courses and competition schedule, building momentum toward this marvellous event and giving everyone a taste of what’s to come next September.”
UCI President David Lappartient said the Wollongong 2022 courses had advanced technical components and were designed with spectators in mind.
“The courses are exciting and challenging, and will provide ample opportunity for fans to immerse themselves in the event and see the world’s best cyclists in action,” Mr Lappartient said.
“The UCI is pleased to have been working closely with the local organising committee over the past 12 months to create courses that are complex, technical and will separate the true champions from their peers.
“Although the global pandemic has limited our ability to visit Wollongong to date, the UCI looks forward to visiting in the first quarter of 2022 to see first-hand the extensive planning by the organising committee and confirm all race details, which will then be released to the international cycling community.”
Wollongong 2022 Race Director Scott Sunderland said the landscapes and topography would please athletes and spectators alike.
“There’s nowhere in the world like Australia, and I think the elevation of the region will surprise some people,” Mr Sunderland said.
“The 2022 UCI Road World Championships courses have all the makings to produce a sensational series of races that will unearth worthy medallists and create memories for fans and athletes alike.”
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres:
“Whether you’re an athlete, a spectator, a volunteer or a local, the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong will have something for everyone.”
“This is a huge win for Wollongong and NSW, with around 300,000 spectators and 10,000 international visitors expected to attend. The economic contribution of the event alone will be almost $100 million.”
“What is equally exciting is the longer-term impact of hosting the World Championships, with Wollongong’s beautiful coastline and mountains on display to an estimated 300 million cycling fans worldwide via the international broadcast.”
Wollongong 2022 CEO Stu Taggart said the event team has been working hard behind the scenes to develop courses that highlight the unique attributes of the region and create an electric atmosphere for athletes and spectators alike,” Mr Taggart said.
“We look forward to welcoming the UCI to Wollongong to confirm and finalise the race details together in early 2022.
“Planning is well underway to ensure this is a spectacular sport and community event that drives long-term growth in cycling and lasting benefits for Wollongong and New South Wales.”
AusCycling CEO Marne Fechner said Therehas never been a period like this for international sport where restricted movement has challenged athletes, officials and fans from engaging with major events.
“For this reason we are even more excited to host the 2022 UCI Road World Championships to relaunch international cycling in Australia with this marquee event for against the backdrop of a beautiful city that is embracing bike riding for sport, leisure and active transport,” she added.