The wait is over – Wollongong 2022 is here. Get all the event info you'll need in our guide to the 2022 UCI Road World Championships:
AusCycling will be your go-to Australian Cycling Team home for the entire 2022 UCI Road World Championships from September 18–25, bringing you behind-the-scenes content from the Australian Cycling Team, news and analysis across our website and social media channels.
The opening day of Wollongong 2022 serves up the highly anticipated fight for rainbows in the individual time trials.
Both the men and women will race over the same distance of 34.2km, which is two laps of the Wollongong 2022 time trial circuit that incorporates most of the Wollongong City Circuit, minus Mt Pleasant but with a small extension towards the beach-side suburb of Towradgi.
Australia enters with serious ambitions of a podium finish via two-time national champion Grace Brown.
However, don’t count out strong performances from young compatriots Lucas Plapp and Georgia Baker.
Brown, a time trial specialist, said she was hoping to have a good Sunday on the bike here in Wollongong.
“It’s an interesting course, there are lots of corners but they’re not actually super technical,” Brown said.
“The corners are all really wide. It’s undulating, there’s a lot of on-off – there are not many parts of the course where you can really get into your aero position and really put down the power.
“Personally, I think, I like it – I think I can have a good day here.”
The individual time trials continue Tuesday, with six of our nine junior UCI Road World Championships debutants hitting the streets of Wollongong.
The junior men’s 28.2km time trial tackles two laps of the course, while the junior women race for one all-out assault on the 14.1km time course.
Hamish McKenzie and Will Eaves are the national and Oceania individual time trial champions respectively for the junior men.
Brisbane’s Isabelle Carnes holds both the above titles for junior women.
There has been a lot of eagerness and excitement among Australia’s elite squad to take part in the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay, which comprises three women and three men competing one 14.1km lap each of the Wollongong 2022 time trial circuit.
The final composition of Australia’s mixed team time trial squad is yet to be confirmed.
The final three days of Wollongong 2022 are going to be electric in the Gong, with five road races taking place from Friday to Sunday.
Australia has seven elite women racing on Saturday and eight elite men on Sunday.
AusCycling Elite Road Coordinator Rory Sutherland said the men will stay on their toes on Sunday and adapt to any race situation.
“We have a plan, we have sport directors in place that have been working on this for 12 months with different strategies and ideas, and you have to adapt as you see how the athletes are going and if they’re healthy,” Sutherland said.
“Especially with the Vuelta (a España) and that will kind of finalise on Saturday (next week).
“And then it may adjust in the race as well depending on how people are feeling.
“All the riders have a rough idea and I think the arrows point towards Michael Matthews but as we saw last year at Worlds, a lot of scenarios can happen and a lot of things can change.
“We want to win as an Australian team … we want to go in together as a team.”
For the women, Sutherland heaped praise on a unit that also already tasted success as a unit at the beginning of August.
Georgia Baker was the one who claimed gold that day at Birmingham 2022.
However, the combined selfless efforts of the entire squad were what delivered the Tasmanian to the finish line in front.
That same squad of six, plus the addition of silver and bronze UCI Road Race World Championship medallist Amanda Spratt, will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday for the 164.3km fight for rainbows.
Sutherland said it was very important to look back on the Commonwealth Games to see how that group of women raced together.
“How they all put it on the line for each other, it didn’t matter who won.
“They all agreed beforehand, that when we looked at the situation and how everyone was going, that in that final scenario that Georgia was the best person to do it.
“And they all bought in, and all did it.
“This is probably, I would say, probably the strongest and close-knit group that we’ve had across the men and women in quite some time.”
Five Australians will contest the under-23 men’s road race on September 23, which covers 169.8km.
Matthew Dinham was Australia’s highest place finisher at the recent Tour de l'Avenir, placing 11th after a string of combined COVID positives and crashes for the squad hampered their Tour of the Future campaign.
Australia’s promising junior cohort is ready to soak it all in on Friday and Saturday during the road races.
The junior men race for 135.6km, and the junior women for 67.2km.
Watch the entire 2022 UCI Road World Championships live on Stan Sport, with the elite road races set to also be broadcast free-to-air on Nine.