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 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.
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 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.