The full course details for the UCI 2022 Road World Championships in Wollongong were released on Thursday, revealing just how crucial in shaping the race the city circuit, and its climb of Mount Pleasant, will be.
The 164.3km women’s elite and under 23 race will conclude with six laps of the corner-laden city circuit. The race starts in Helensburgh, passes via the coast and then takes in on one lap of the Mount Keira loop before heading into the technical finishing circuit. It's a route that will deliver 2,433m of elevation gain with the major climb being Mount Keira, but the six repeats of Mount Pleasant on the city circuit adds considerably to the total.
The 266.9km men’s elite race, with 3,945m of ascent follows the same pattern as the women’s event, however the riders will take on 12 laps of the city circuit before they cross the finish line for the final time in Wollongong. That means tackling 12 passes of Mount Pleasant with its 1.1km climb delivering an average gradient of 7.7 per cent and a maximum of 14 per cent.
The overall shape of the courses for the September 18-25 event was announced late last year, but the distance, elevation gains and number of times the riders would take on the key circuits was then yet to be revealed, as border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for the UCI delegation to visit. Easing restrictions, however, opened the door to a February inspection and the final sign-off for the routes where the chase for the rainbow jerseys would unfold in 2022.
"The UCI delegation that visited Wollongong in February is very excited about the tough, technical and ambitious courses designed by the Organising Committee in partnership with the UCI,” said UCI President David Lappartient. "These courses will attract the world's top riders to Wollongong, all eager to be the athlete who triumphs in conditions that really test their skills and ability.”
With the final climb up Mount Pleasant cresting seven kilometres from the finish line, the road races are expected to be open to a variety of types of riders, from puncheurs to GC contenders and perhaps even a very determined and climb savvy sprinter. The time trial course, too, won’t be without its challenges, with plenty of corners to contend with over its 34.2km distance for the elite men’s and women’s events.
"Many people have a perception that Australia is flat, open and all about the ocean – in Wollongong, there are all the elements that make road cycling dynamic and difficult, from the Mount Keira climb through the escarpment to the urban ascent up Mount Pleasant,” Race Director Scott Sunderland said in a statement.
"We're going to see the riders really testing their strategic and athletic capabilities as they navigate the Wollongong City Circuit and Time Trial courses, which will be spectacular viewing for the on-ground crowds and broadcast viewers."
The focus for all the rainbow jersey events is on Wollongong, which is on the coast and located just 80km south of the centre of Sydney, the nation's largest capital city
The only races which don't both start and finish in Wollongong – which is located on Dharawal country – are the elite men's and combined women's elite and U23 road race. They start in Helensburgh, which is about halfway between Wollongong and Sydney.
The 2022 Road World Championships, starts with the elite men's and women's time trials on Sunday September 18 and finishes with the men's elite road race on Sunday September 25. The event is expected to draw 300,000 spectators and more than 300 million viewers globally.
- Men junior road race, 135.6km - Wollongong city circuit x 8
- Men U23 road race, 169.8km - Wollongong city circuit x 10
- Women's junior road race, 67.2km - Wollongong city circuit x 4
- Women's elite road race, 164.3km - Helensburgh start, Mount Keira loop and Wollongong city circuit x 6
- Men's elite road race, 266.9km - Helensburgh start, Mount Keira loop and Wollongong city circuit x 12
- Women's elite individual time trial, 34.2km - 2 laps of elite circuit
- Men's elite individual time trial, 34.2km - 2 laps of elite circuit
- Men's U23 individual time trial - 2 laps of U23, junior and team time trial course
- Women's junior individual time trial, 14.1km - 1 lap of U23, junior and team time trial course
- Men's junior individual time trial, 28.8km - 2 laps of U23, junior and team time trial course
- Team time trial mixed relay, 28.2km - 2 laps of U23, junior and team time trial course
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Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.