The World Cycling Championships road race is similar to a hilly classic. The route takes in 13 climbs. The longest one, Mount Keira, adds up to 9 kilometres and the average gradient sits at 5.7%.
Mount Keira appears early in the race, so it will not directly impact the result. But it will surely add to the fatigue.
An attrition race is to be expected on the route with an elevation gain of almost 4,000 metres. Most vertical metres are saved for the Wollongong city circuit, which is tackled 12 times and includes Mount Pleasant on every occasion. The 1.1 kilometres climb at 7.7% serves its hardest part in the first half when the road slopes at 11.7% for 250 metres. The section could provide a perfect launch pad in the final lap. Or in the penultimate…
It’s almost 8 kilometres from the summit of Mount Pleasant to the finish line. The first 3 kilometres go downhill, the rest is flat.
The tough course demands a versatile rider with both fast and climbing legs – the likes of Van Aert and Van der Poel. Those two will not fear to sprint for the rainbow stripes, while most other riders will want to get rid of the illustrious duo. Alaphilippe could serve as an inspiration in that respect. Last year in Flanders, the Frenchman attacked in the penultimate lap to solo to his second rainbow jersey in a row.
Favourites 2022 World Championships Road Race
***** Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel
**** Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Matthews, Ethan Hayter, Alberto Bettiol
*** Tadej Pogacar, Dylan van Baarle, Pavel Sivakov, Remco Evenepoel, Matteo Trentin
** Peter Sagan Jasper Stuyven, Christophe Laporte, Quentin Pacher, Jonathan Narváez
* Magnus Cort, Iván García, Simon Clarke, Marc Soler, Taco van der Hoorn, Valentin Madouas