Wollongong 2022 prepares international cycling community for ‘the ride of your life’

Australia has given the international cycling community a preview of the eight-day celebration of cycling that will be the 2022 UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong next September, including a world-first approach to gender equality by staging the Men Elite and Women Elite individual time trials on the same day, over the same distance.

Showcasing a spectacular seaside city just one hour south of Sydney, a local community that has fully invested in the growth and benefits of cycling as the first UCI Bike City in the Southern Hemisphere and a jam-packed program of professional and spectator events, Wollongong 2022 will be a UCI Road World Championships like no other.

Presenting at a media conference with UCI President David Lappartient on the eve of the UCI Congress in Flanders at the 2021 Championships, Wollongong 2022 CEO Stu Taggart said next year’s event would signify a hallmark moment for cycling in Australia and globally, while inviting the cycling community to enjoy the quintessential Australian landscape and lifestyle.

“The Australian postcard moments will come to life in Wollongong with white sandy beaches, crystal clear oceans and dramatic natural escarpment setting the scene for the high-energy 2022 UCI Road World Championships,” Mr Taggart said.

“Make no mistake, hosting the UCI Road World Championships is the equivalent of hosting the Olympic Games for Wollongong and we’ll be welcoming athletes, staff and spectators with the same enthusiasm and fanfare.

“Wollongong is incredibly proud to have attained the UCI Bike City label and be the 2022 host city, and we are well down the track to creating a true lifestyle revolution around cycling in the region and across the country as a result of this event.

“We are working closely with AusCycling to continue driving growth in all disciplines and levels of the sport, while partnering with Wollongong City Council and local community organisations to create new opportunities to embrace cycling as part of everyday life.

“The UCI has awarded us the opportunity to broaden the footprint of elite cycling competition outside of Europe and we will reward that confidence by delivering a UCI Road World Championships event that is sustainable, exciting and unforgettable. We are inviting you to come along for the ride of your life.”

Mr Taggart said that Wollongong 2022 and the UCI are also actively seeking to embed gender equality across the delivery of the event – highlighted by the Women Elite and Men Elite individual time trials being staged together on the opening day of competition and over the same distance for the first time in UCI Road World Championships history.

“The event aims to place a spotlight on women, and their amazing success, skill, resilience and determination to not only all of Australia, but the world. Having the world’s elite female cyclists competing in the individual time trial on the same day and over the same distance as the elite men for the first time on the opening day of the Championships will be a transformational moment for our sport.”

UCI President David Lappartient said Wollongong hosting the 2022 UCI Road World Championships would confirm the global reach of one of cycling’s major annual events.

“The UCI Road World Championships are the UCI’s flagship annual event, bringing together the very best road cyclists in the world,” said David Lappartient.

“Following five years in European venues, it was important for the UCI to again take our event to another region. After Richmond (USA) in 2015 and Doha (Qatar) in 2016 I am delighted that the Australian city of Wollongong will host this event in 2022. This is the first time we return to Oceania since 2010, when the UCI Road World Championships were also staged in Australia, in Melbourne and Geelong.

“Athletes competing at this level require excellent conditions in order to perform to their best, and I know that their expectations will be met in Wollongong. This UCI Bike City has demonstrated in numerous and varied ways that is committed to providing cyclists of all levels – from Elite competitors to everyday bike-users – optimal conditions in which to ride their bikes.

“The cycling world looks forward to coming to Wollongong in 2022.” New South Wales Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans Natalie Ward said there was no better location than Wollongong for this landmark moment in elite competition.

“I’m delighted Wollongong will showcase the historic step of both women and men competing in time trials over an equal distance on the same day,” Mrs Ward said.

“The New South Wales Government is committed to opening up more opportunities for women and girls in sport and we are proud to host events that promote gender equality.”

New South Wales Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said Sydney and surrounds was recognised for hosting world-class international events and locals would extend the cycling community an incredibly warm welcome Down Under.

“Sydney is primed to reopen international borders as local vaccination rates increase, and we cannot wait to welcome visitors from around the globe back to our shores and to Wollongong to support the recovery of the local visitor economy.

“Our residents love cycling and international sporting events, and they are proud to share our beautiful cities and local experiences with visitors who share these passions. We look forward to seeing you at Wollongong 2022 next September.”