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2022 road worlds set to see Alaphilippe, van Aert in the fray: ‘Classics riders will love this course’

Race director tips van Aert, van der Poel and Alaphilippe as top contenders for rainbow jersey in Wollongong.

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If you thought this season’s all-attacking Belgian road words were exciting, buckle up for more of the same in 2022.

Initial hints at the route for next year’s Wollongong world championships were released Friday, and race director Scott Sunderland has said his route has the makings of a true Belgian classic.

“The course is a bit comparable to the worlds in Leuven,” Sunderland told Het Nieuwsblad. “The classic riders will love this course.”

Also read: Rainforests, beaches, bridges on tap for 2022 worlds

The exact parcours for next September’s races are yet to be buttoned down. Nonethless, it is known that the men’s and women’s peloton will tackle a rainforest loop that includes the 8.7-kilometer climb of Mount Keira before hitting a city-center circuit that packs a one-kilometer, eight percent “berg” of true Belgian vintage.

Sunderland said the next rainbow jersey will likely go to a rider that can both climb and sprint, opening the door for the pro peloton’s current crop of all-terrain all-stars.

“I am thinking of Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and defending champion Julian Alaphilippe, because they also have a strong final sprint,” Sunderland said. “I am also thinking of Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar, plus home racers Michael Matthews and Caleb Ewan.”

UCI chiefs will visit Wollongong in early 2022 to take a look at what Southerland has sketched out for next September’s races before full course details are confirmed.

“Due to COVID, the UCI has not yet reached Australia and so they have not yet been able to give approval,” Sunderland said. “The distance of the world championships and also the answer to the question ‘one or more passages over Mount Keira?’ are not yet fixed. The difficulty of the course is therefore determined by the UCI.”