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Any rider who wants to win a rainbow jersey will have to work hard this year.
The men’s race is set to clock in at some 275 kilometers, with the women’s competition slated to be 174km in what will be the longest road worlds in recent memory.
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For context, the 2022 races will be seven kilometers more for the men and a whopping 17 more for the women than last year’s Leuven championships, where Julian Alaphilippe and Elisa Balsamo won rainbows after 268km and 157km respectively.
The men’s 275km Wollongong race is just one kilometer short of the Austrian worlds held in 1987, which Stephen Roche won after almost seven hours of pedaling. Jeannie Longo won a shortened women’s race that year.
The closest recent comparator, on the men’s side, to such an epic course is the Harrogate 2019 race, which was due to be 285km before rainfall forced a re-routing.
The final details of the parcours for this September’s races are still taking shape, but it is known that riders will take in a series of ascents of the long and steady Mount Keira climb before a punchy finishing circuit in the coastal city of Wollongong.
Race director Scott Sunderland tipped riders like Wout van Aert and defending champ Alaphilippe as riders likely to profit from the route he’s hatching, but fast finishers like home hero Caleb Ewan aren’t ruling themselves out of what could be a reduced bunch sprint either.