Road Worlds return to Australia: Wollongong to host 2022 championships
The UCI Road World Championships will return to Australia in 2022 with Wollongong, New South Wales selected as the event’s host city.
The eight-day event comes 12 years after Australia’s only other Road World Championships, held in Geelong in 2010. It will be the first Road Worlds held in the Southern Hemisphere since then.
It’s likely to be several years before the road race course for Wollongong is announced, but there are suggestions it will start in Sydney before heading the roughly 80km south along the coast to Wollongong for laps of a local circuit. The hills west of Wollongong create the potential for a challenging course.
New South Wales’ Minister for Sport Stuart Eyres heralded the announcement as a great victory for Wollongong and the state of New South Wales.
“The eyes of the world will be on Wollongong for eight days in 2022, with an international viewing audience of 200 million people, more than 300,000 spectators and 500 media outlets staying in the region,” he said. “More than 1,000 competitors from more than 50 countries will compete and the event is expected to deliver $94 million to the NSW visitor economy.”
Cycling Australia’s managing director and CEO, Steve Drake, was similarly thrilled by the development.
“Hosting the 2022 Road Worlds in Australia is a coup for the country and for our sport,” he said. “We look forward to a fantastic event in Wollongong which will showcase the best road cyclists from around the world, which we are confident will attract interest across the country and inspire the next generation of Australian cyclists to ride their bikes for both sport and recreation.”
Several locations around Australia were reportedly considered for the 2022 event. It’s not clear exactly which cities and states put in a bid, but South Australia has made it clear in recent years that it was pushing for hosting duties.
On face value, the choice of Wollongong comes as something as a surprise. Running cycling events in New South Wales has proven difficult in recent years, due at least in part to a challenging relationship with local police.
The 2018 edition of the Road World Championships recently concluded in Innsbruck, Austria. The next three editions will be held in: Harrogate, UK (2019); Martigny, Switzerland (2020); and Leuven/Bruges, Belgium (2021).