Why cycling’s world titles will be the biggest sporting event in Australia

It’s a great result for cycling in Australia. Cycling in this country is getting bigger and better because of the Australians who have dominated the world tour for the past 25 years. Think Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady, Brad McGee, Baden Cooke, Cadel Evans, Michael Matthews, Caleb Ewan, Simon Gerrans. All have dominated and succeeded on the world stage at one time or another.

The World Cups will certainly leave a mark in terms of tourism for NSW and Wollongong. But for sports? Aspiring young cyclists will look at the superstars who come here with sparkling eyes and think: “I want to do this. I want to be like Julian Alaphilippe, I want to be like Michael Matthews or Jai Hindley. I want to go to Europe, I want to be a world tour rider and I want to make a living from being a successful cyclist, I want to be on the highest podium.”

“Winning the rainbow jersey is more of an achievement than winning an Olympic gold medal.”

The course that awaits this occupation is unforgiving. It’s not a sprint course, but one that separates those who can climb from those who can’t. You have to climb Mount Keira once, which reaches a height of about 400 meters. On their return to the Wollongong suburbs, Mount Pleasant awaits them, which will be anything but. It’s a one kilometer climb that riders have to climb 12 times. I climbed it myself and it really is a brutal loop.

The women’s elite road race covers 164.3 kilometers. The men’s road race is 266.9 kilometers long. It’s practically the same distance as Sydney to Canberra, and it’s not a flat road. To complete such a distance on a hilly course in a few hours is brutal. As for us weekend warriors who might cover 50-60 miles on a Saturday or Sunday, you can do the math. It’s like chalk and cheese.

But for every person who finds it too brutal, there will be an inspired child. This is the spin-off of this event.


The youngsters coming through with bright eyes will be the result of what will happen in Wollongong in September.

Michael Tomalaris Host of exclusive Stan Sport coverage of the UCI World Championships. Stan Sport’s exclusive coverage of the 2022 UCI Road World Championships begins Sunday 18th September 2022, with each race broadcast commercial-free, live and on-demand.

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