Wollongong wows UCI delegation

Wollongong has wowed a technical delegation from the international governing body of cycling, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) this week as site visits were conducted for the upcoming 2022 UCI Road World Championships.

Representatives from the UCI were joined by members of the international host broadcast production EBU, official Tissot Swiss Timing team, accreditation supplier Wings and local event delivery partners, spent several days exploring the city and confirming plans with the event Organising Committee, Wollongong 2022.

The delegation were impressed by the city, the natural landscape, the facilities and the warm hospitality and look forward to returning for the event, which will be held 18-25 September.

UCI Deputy Sports Director and Road World Championships Manager Morgane Gaultier said it was an enjoyable first visit to Wollongong for the team.

“Since the beginning of the week we are impressed by what we’ve seen during our site visit. I cannot wait to return to Australia and look forward to this immense celebration of cycling,” Ms Gaultier said.

“Everyone at the UCI is very excited to bring our leading event of the year to Australia. Wollongong will provide a unique and spectacular postcard to the 2022 UCI Road World Championships.

“Next September, the whole world will discover the beauty of this city, with its coastline, cliffs, and rainforest. For the cyclists there will be a mixture of fast straights, sharp climbs and technical sections.

“A lot of work has already been done to prepare the next UCI Road World Championships and I sincerely thank everybody involved.”

Due to the pandemic, the UCI has been unable to visit Australia for two years and welcomed the opportunity to be in Wollongong to understand the unique and appealing features of the city, and discuss plans with the Organising Committee.

The delegation spent several days touring the Wollongong City Circuit and Time Trial courses, as well as features of the Elite Road Races being the Helensburgh remote start and Mount Keira Loop. Following this visit the delegation will review all aspects of the races with the full UCI team in Switzerland before confirming the details on 31 March.

The group also inspected a suite of local facilities that will be used during the event including the official UCI hotel Novotel Wollongong North Beach, University of Wollongong and WIN Stadium and WIN Entertainment Centre. The latter will be the media and accreditation centre for the event, welcoming hundreds of journalists and photographers from around the world, and accrediting thousands of athletes, officials, volunteers and contractors.

Other highlights included a stop at Symbio Wildlife Park to meet the ‘locals’ – koalas, kangaroos and a wombat – as well as Bald Hill lookout.

Wollongong 2022 CEO Stu Taggart said preparations were ramping up with just over six months to go to the event.

“There has been a lot of productive conversation this week around the finer details that will make the 2022 UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong not only a fantastic race for the athletes, but a spectacular event for the attendees and fans following from afar,” Mr Taggart said.

“Being able to discuss our plans with the UCI and walk through the exact locations where the racing will unfold provided us with the opportunity to make collaborative decisions and brainstorm about more opportunities to showcase the sport and Wollongong to the world.

“We are excited to move forward with all of our event partners and start to share more details with the community in coming weeks and months. Thank you to the NSW Government and Wollongong City Council for their ongoing support with plans and for this visit.”

Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle welcomed UCI representatives and the international cycling community to visit Wollongong any time.

“We are incredibly proud to host this event and be a UCI Bike City – the only one in the southern hemisphere – and we look forward to welcoming the world’s cycling fans, athletes and administrators back to Wollongong in September and in years to come,” Mr Doyle said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our city and our community to work alongside the world’s best, to be part of a placemaking and generation-shaping event, and to enjoy our home in new and wonderful ways.”