The UCI Thursday unveiled the routes for the 2022 world road cycling championships in Wollongong, Australia.
The 2022 Road World Championships start with the elite men’s and women’s time trials on Sunday September 18 and finish 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.
Time Trial for Technical Challenges
The elite individual time trial will open the 2022 UCI Road World Championships on Sunday, September 18, and for the first time ever, both the elite men’s and elite women’s events will race the same route and distance against the clock over the same two-laps circuit, a total distance of 34.2 km.
In a statement announcing the move, the UCI said it is “in line with the UCI’s priority of promoting gender equality”.
The course is promised to be technically challenging with more than two dozen turns that riders will be forced to navigate,
Road Races on Demanding City Tracks
The elite women will ride the Wollongong circuit 6 times and climb 2,433m over 164.3km on Saturday, September 24.
On Sunday, September 25, the men’s elite race will take on the circuit 12 times for a total elevation gain of 3,945m over266.9km.
The road race starts in Helensburgh and will take riders passes via the coast (Sea Cliff Bridge) over Mount Keira (473m elevation) on an 8.7km climb through the sub-tropical rainforest at an average of just more than five percent — with a kick to 15 percent. After a 10km descent, each lap through Wollongong takes riders through 33 turns before taking on the 1.1km ascent of Mount Pleasant, which averages 7.7 percent grade and tops out at 14 percent.
The under 23s, juniors and the mixed relay will be on the smallest circuit in the city centre.
UCI president David Lappartient commented on the technical natures of the routes, which will test riders’ skills and abilities.
“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. 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. The courses have also been designed to create special experiences for spectators, with lots of activity focused around the Wollongong city centre, where the riders will pass by multiple times. Fans will be able to witness the critical moments unfold against the backdrop of a quintessential Australian beach and the beautiful escarpment.”
Race director Scott Sunderland boasted of the unique venue, and the challenging elevation gain offered.
“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. 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. If you think you know Wollongong and Australia, think again. The 2022 UCI Road World Championships will separate the challengers from the champions and put our coastal city on the map for fans worldwide.”
Women’s under-23 titles in the road race and time trials have also been created for the Championships in Wollongong, which according to Lappartient will enable the UCI to reach “complete gender equality regarding the number of titles”.
From 2022 until 2024, medals are awarded to the top-performing athletes in the under-23 age bracket in the women’s race, before a stand-alone event is due to begin from the 2025 World Championships Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
A men’s under-23 individual time trial is scheduled for September 19, followed by the junior time trials on September 20 and the team time trail mixed relay a day later.
Road races are set to begin in the men’s junior and under-23 category on September 23, followed by the women’s junior and elite events on September 24 and the men’s elite road race on the final day of the Championships on September 25.
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