WORLD’S BEST CYCLISTS HEADING TO WOLLONGONG

Wollongong will host the biggest sporting event in its history commencing this weekend, with the world’s best cyclists coming to town for the 2022 UCI Road World Championships.

Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said the event will involve 1,000 athletes and officials from 70 countries and will generate $95 million for the local economy.

“The Illawarra has a proud sporting history and over eight days starting on Saturday, 300,000 spectators will converge on Wollongong to witness the best cyclists in the world compete for the title of World Champion,” Mr Henskens said.

“With a global audience of 300 million viewers, this event will put the eyes of the world on the Illawarra and is the first in a stellar line up of major NSW sporting events in late 2022.

“We are delivering on our promise to make NSW the sporting events capital of the nation and giving sports lovers the opportunity to witness the best athletes from around the globe battle it out on the world stage.”

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The UCI Road World Championships is the first of a number of world cups that NSW will host in 2022, with the event to be followed by the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and then the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup.

Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said the three major events were part of the NSW Government’s 10 World Cups in 10 Years program, which will grow the NSW visitor economy, create jobs and secure a brighter future for our state.

“The UCI Road World Championships will give Wollongong’s hotels, restaurants, bars, retailers and tourism operators a significant economic boost while shining a global spotlight on this beautiful region,” Mr Franklin said.

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“World Cup events are key to our vision of making NSW the sporting events capital of the Asia Pacific and reaching our target of $65 billion in visitor expenditure for NSW by 2030.”

Wollongong 2022 Chief Executive Officer Stu Taggart said the UCI Road World Championships were part of the “Triple Crown” of cycling.

“The event sits alongside Tour de France and Giro d’Italia as the most important fixtures of the cycling calendar,” Mr Taggart said.

“We will see many of the world’s best riders racing on our streets right here in Wollongong, over the Sea Cliff Bridge and throughout the city, focused on the finish line which – for the first time in 101 years of the event – is just 80 metres from the beach.”

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Former professional cyclist and Wollongong 2022 Safety Manager Mark Renshaw said the prestige of wearing the World Champions rainbow stripes for the entire international season would see riders give it their all throughout the event.

“The UCI Road World Championships are really important to professional cyclists who want to prove themselves against the best, and against their own previous performances,” Mr Renshaw said.

“Wollongong is the perfect course for that with a technical and challenging course that will crown a worthy world champion but keeping the competition open to many styles of riders.”

The 2022 UCI Road World Championships will be held from 18-25 September with a Community Day on 17 September.