The peloton competing during the 95th UCI Road World Championships 2022, Men Elite Road Race a 266,9km race on Sunday. (Photo by Con Chronis/Getty Images)
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Wollongong Worlds: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the ’Gong.

Senior Bicycling Australia journalist Peter Maniaty takes a look back at the lead up to and execution of the Wollongong Worlds – here’s his take.

The Good

The course and race organisation. First class all the way. Huge congratulations must go the technical team at Wollongong 2022 led by Scott Sunderland, Mark Renshaw and the small army of Commissaires and Marshalls. The racing was superb, as were the volunteers. Just brilliant.

The Bad

For whatever reason, this event wasn’t promoted within Australia anywhere near as well as it should have been, or deserved, and anyone who suggests otherwise is kidding themselves. A more concerted PR and community engagement strategy was desperately needed – and would surely have assuaged many of the very concerns that were always lurking just beneath the surface for potential visitors as well as local residents and businesses in the most affected suburbs. Better communication would surely have driven bigger crowds earlier in the Championships, which were underwhelming until the final weekend. The commercial TV coverage in Australia also left plenty to be desired, as usual.

The Ugly

The shamefully provocative media campaign run by the Illawarra Mercury in the months leading up to the World Championships, who then even more shamelessly jumped camps at the eleventh hour as the tide of support began to turn.

Stoking controversy for clicks is not cool and, as someone who watched the Mercury’s behaviour very closely for most of 2022, it certainly helped to drive a big community wedge across the Illawarra. Disgraceful? Yes. Surprising? Sadly, no.

It was notable that WIN News Illawarra was always present bringing a far more positive message to the community, and good on them for that.

Your thoughts on the 2022 UCI Road World Championships held in Wollongong? Have your say below.

HAVE YOUR SAY

6 Comments

  1. The magazine article under the heading ‘Riding the Region’ is of course correct that Wollongong is in “no way a cycling city” despite its UCI ‘Bike City’ status. But the comments don’t recognise that the wider Illawarra region to the south is far more suitable for road cycling. As the coastal plain widens there are quiet roads through open country (eg, the areas around Kiama, Jamberoo, Berry & Kangaroo Valley) and challenging climbs like Jamberoo Pass (temp. closed), Saddleback Mountain, Macquarie Pass and Barrengarry Mountain. Then there’s the Southern Highlands just over the escarp

  2. Channel 9 and promoters should hang their heads in shame. A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in popular sport on our doorstep and the general public would barely have known it was on unless they searched for it. Coverage was disgraceful, as usual, typical channel 9. And who was that commentator? Very disappointed. Should have given it to SBS, who would have taken it seriously. Your summary was spot on Peter.

  3. Another extremely bad, Channel 9, who had the telecast rights only had minimal coverage on free to air, you had to subscribe to Stan Sports to watch any of the races. They also had no coverage of any race during the National Nine news, the only mention made was about MVDP.
    Good, the local WIN news had good coverage. It was fantastic to see huge crowds everywhere, especially Mt Keira Rd, Ramah Ave, the Fraternity and finish area.
    All in al a great week of cycling.

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