The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Wollongong 2022 have today released the full race details for the 2022 UCI Road World Championships, unveiling challenging Road Race courses, a demanding Wollongong City Circuit and highly technical Time Trial courses.

The courses, race schedules and race profiles will showcase Wollongong’s landscape and highlights of the city centre, create world class competition among the sport’s top athletes, and provide an outstanding spectator experience for fans in Wollongong or tuning in to the global broadcast.

The details were launched via a virtual press conference with representatives from the UCI and organising committee, Wollongong 2022, celebrating just under six months to go to the event.

Wollongong, which is recognised as Dharawal country, is preparing to welcome 1,000 of the world’s best cyclists plus hundreds of thousands of spectators to the beach-front city 80km south of Sydney from 18-25 September, 2022.

The Women Elite, and Men Elite Road Races on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September are sure to attract a competitive field and a significant audience as the battles unfold over 164.3km (women) and 266.9km (men).

After a remote start in the northern village of Helensburgh, both courses travel south toward the city centre via Sea Cliff Bridge and the many coastal townships that line Lawrence Hargrave Drive. Upon arriving in Wollongong, the riders will head west to take on the main climb of the event, Mount Keira, nestled in the striking escarpment that overlooks the city.

Peaking at 473m elevation, the Mount Keira Loop ascent climbs through sub-tropical rainforest at an average gradient of 5%, with a maximum incline of 15% just over halfway into the lengthy 8.7km climb. Navigating the 10km of descent via Kembla Heights and Figtree will separate the potential champions from the pack as the athletes prime themselves for the next challenge – Wollongong City Circuit.

Here the men will complete a punishing 12 laps of Wollongong City Circuit, and the women six laps, accounting for much of the total course elevation in the second half of the race. The challenge has a name — Mount Pleasant — an urban climb up Ramah Avenue that will test even the most experienced riders. Over 1.1km the riders will climb 119m at an average gradient of 7.7%. The potential race maker will present just 300m into the climb where the incline reaches its maximum 14% gradient, then demands a further 800m uphill effort from the athletes before they push into a fast descent.

Multiply that climb across laps of the circuit plus Mount Keira and the women will climb 2433m elevation over 164.3km and the men 3945m over 266.9km, making it comparable to a major mountain stage of the Tour de France. It will set up an open battle among a variety of athletes of different types, including General Classification and puncheur riders, and potentially determined sprinters.

The Wollongong City Circuit will be focus of the Men and Women Junior races, along with the Men Under 23, who will complete eight, four and 10 laps of the circuit respectively. Featuring some 33 turns as it travels through suburban Wollongong, the riders will have to channel their effort to relaunch quickly after each corner and keep their eyes on the race leaders weaving their way through the city streets up ahead.

The Women Elite Individual Time Trial will open the 2022 UCI Road World Championship program, racing two laps of a city-based circuit that starts on Market Street in the centre and stretches north to the suburb of Towradgi for a total race distance of 34.2km. In a historical first for the event, the Men Elite Individual Time Trial will take place over the same distance on the same day as the women’s equivalent in a demonstration of gender equity for the sport.

The Men Under 23, Men and Women Junior Individual Time Trials and Mixed Relay Team Time Trial will take place on a slightly shorter circuit, however the need for speed and accuracy around the 30+ corners of the course will remain the same.

For the first time ever, UCI World Championship medals and rainbow jerseys will be awarded in the Women Under 23 category for Individual Time Trial and Road Race as part of the Elite Women’s events.

The courses were validated during a UCI delegation site visit to Wollongong in late February, where the sport and technical team expressed excitement about the challenging courses and enthusiasm for the riders and fans to experience the city in September.

The full competition and course schedule and race profiles are now available at wollongong2022.com.au.

UCI President David Lappartient said the courses had the makings of an unforgettable event for athletes and spectators.

“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 our 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.”

Wollongong 2022 Race Director Scott Sunderland said the international cycling community should prepare to be surprised and challenged by the event in Australia.

“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.”

Wollongong 2022 CEO Stu Taggart said the city provided unique opportunities for the event.

“Wollongong is a special place, defined by its coast, escarpment and community that embraces an outdoor lifestyle because of the unique surrounds.

“The locals are excited to welcome the world to Wollongong for what is likened to the Olympic moment for the city, where sport, culture and excellence combine for a city-wide celebration over multiple days.

“Wollongong 2022 thanks our event partners and the community for their support to put on an edition of the UCI Road World Championships like no other, that professional and amateur cyclists all over the world will remember for decades to come.”


Video content of the Elite Road Race course is available on YouTube.