2022 UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong: Preview, schedule, cycling stars in action and how to watch

13 road cycling world titles will be awarded between 18 - 25 September in Australia as the UCI's pinnacle event heads Down Under for the first time in 12 years.

By Alessandro Poggi | Created 13 September 2022.
Picture by Matteo Cogliati / Hans Lucas

The world’s best cyclists are set to compete for the coveted rainbow jersey in Wollongong, Australia, at the 2022 UCI Road World Championships between 18 – 25 September.

More than 1,000 top international riders from 70+ nations are expected in the New South Wales city, located just 80km from Sydney, as 13 gold medals will be awarded across three categories (Elite, Under-23, Junior).

The championships, which consist of the road race, individual time trial and mixed team relay (since 2019), are the pinnacle of the UCI road season. They have been held since 1921, with the women’s race added only in 1958.

Recently crowned 2022 Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel, fellow Belgian teammate – and Tokyo 2020 road silver medallist - Wout van Aert, three-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar and the Netherlands’ versatile talent Mathieu van der Poel headline the men’s Elite field. Dutch stars Marianne Vos and Annemiek van Vleuten will chase more titles in the women’s competitions.

Read below to find out everything about Wollongong 2022, including the programme and how to watch the event.

2022 Road Cycling World Championships - Key facts

Australia is back staging the road cycling’s Worlds for the second time in its history, 12 years after Geelong 2010.

The 2022 UCI Road World Championships is the 95th edition of the event, and the first edition of the race where titles are being given out in the women's Under 23 category.

The two additional rainbow jerseys mean that there now 13 gold medals up for grabs.

Last year in the Belgian region of Flanders Julian Alaphilippe of France and Elisa Balsamo of Italy won gold in the men’s and women’s road race, respectively.

Tokyo 2020 track Olympic gold medallist Filippo Ganna (Italy) and Dutch veteran Ellen van Djik are the defending champions in the individual time trial events, while Germany triumphed in the second edition of the mixed team relay, which replaced the men’s and women’s team time trial.

While as of 13 September national teams are still busy finalising and announcing their squads, some of the men’s road cycling stars will miss the event for sure: MTB Olympic champion Tom Pidcock pulled out of the Worlds due to racing and training fatigue, while Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan wasn’t selected.

Two-time defending champion Alaphilippe dislocated his shoulder after crashing out on Stage 11 of La Vuelta, but the Frenchman has resumed training and hopes to defend his rainbow jersey after being confirmed as starting. Some national coaches are facing significant headaches in the selection process as federations struggle with funding due the increased cost of international travel, while World Tour trade teams fighting to maintain their places in the top tier of racing are reluctant to release some of their riders.

Check the team announcements for the 2022 UCI Road World Championships

2022 UCI Road Cycling World Championships - Men's stars to watch

Tadej Pogacar will be one to watch in both the men’s road race and individual time trial. The Slovenian, who finished runner-up at this year’s Tour de France after three straight wins, skipped the Vuelta to focus on the Worlds and was recently back to winning ways at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, Canada.

After three silver medals, two in the time trial and one in the road race, Wout van Aert is hoping to top the podium this time around. The 27-year-old is part of a strong Belgian team, which also features in-form Remco Evenepoel.

The Netherlands plan to go big in Wollongong with multi-discipline star Mathieu van der Poel leading a powerful pack including national time trial champion Bauke Mollema and 2021 silver medallist Dylan van Baarle.

Hosts Australia will try to delight the home crowd as they field 2022 Giro d’Italia champion Jai Hindley and 13-time Grand Tour stage winner Michael Matthews.

And let's not forget Norwegian veteran Alexander Kristoff and on his Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux team-mate, Eritrea's Biniam Girmay, who made history for Africa last year by winning silver in the Under-23 race.

In the individual time trial, taking place on the opening day of the campionships, two-time reigning champion Filippo Ganna of Italy will be the man to beat, while Pogacar, Evenepoel, Stefan Kung and Ethan Hayter are set to challenge for the podium.

Elisa Balsamo of Italy celebrates her victory at the 2021 UCI Road World Championship Elite Women race in Leuven, Belgium.
Picture by Matteo Cogliati / Hans Lucas

2022 UCI Road Cycling World Championships - Women's stars to watch

In the women’s field, Tokyo 2020 time-trial gold medallist Annemiek van Vleuten will aim to put a stamp on a remarkable season, after completing the treble Giro d’Italia Donne, Tour de France Femmes and Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta.

At almost 40 years old, the Dutch legend, who will retire at the end of 2023, looks to add to her collection of world championships medals (three golds, three silvers and two bronzes).

The main competition will probably come from within her own team, which includes multiple world medal winners Marianne Vos (road race) and Ellen van Dijk (individual time trial).

Other potential challengers for van Vleuten could be road race defending champion Elisa Balsamo or two-time Olympic medallist Elisa Longo Borghini, who joined her on the podium in the recent women's Tour of Spain.

2022 UCI Road World Championships: The courses

The stunning coastline surrounding Wollongong city will be the backdrop of all road race and time trial events.

The Elite men will tackle a demanding 266.9km-course featuring a 34.2km-loop around Mount Keira (riders will face a 8.7km-climb with an average gradient of 5% and a maximum of 15% just over halfway) and 12 laps of a city circuit, including the 1-km kick with 7.7% average gradient of Mount Pleasant, for a total elevation of almost 4,000m.

The Elite women’s 164.3km parcours starts from Helensburgh and mirrors the men’s course, but with fewer laps around the city - six instead of 12 – totaling 2,433m of climbing.

For the first time in the history of the championships men and women will share the same time-trial course as they race along a relatively flat but highly technical 34.2km-route, which starts and end in Wollongong.

Check out the official course maps and altimetry here.

2022 UCI Road World Championships: Schedule

An estimated 300,000 spectators are expected to line the course while over 300 million viewers globally will watch the event during the eight days of competition.

Here's the programme of the eight-day road cycling festival.

(All times are local - AEST/UTC+10)

  • Sunday 18 September

9:35 Women’s Elite individual time trial

13:30 Men’s Elite individual time trial

  • Monday 19 September

13:20 Men’s Under 23 individual time trial

  • Tuesday 20 September

9:30 Women’s Junior individual time trial

13:20 Men’s Junior individual time trial

  • Wednesday 21 September

14:20 Team time trial mixed relay

  • Friday 23 September

8:30 Men’s Junior road race

13:00 Men’s Under 23 road race

  • Saturday 24 September

8:00 Women’s Junior road race

11:55 Women’s Elite road race

  • Sunday 25 September

10:00 Men’s Elite road race

A more detailed schedule and live updates are available on the Race Hub of the 2022 UCI Road World Championships Wollongong

2022 UCI Road World Championships: How to watch TV broadcast and online livestreaming coverage

To know the list of the official broadcasters showing the 2022 UCI Road World Championships check out the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) website.

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