The final two events of the 2022 UCI Road World Championships will be broadcast live on free-to-air TV in Australia as part of a media deal with Channel Nine and its pay-TV channel, Stan. Today, the network(s) announced who will be part of the broadcast team.
There will be a few familiar faces when Australians tune into the TV coverage of the world championships towards the end of September. Michael Tomalaris makes a return to the screen as he hosts the coverage on Stan and Channel Nine. The veteran broadcaster had been a regular on SBS sport and news programs for almost 30 years until his rather unceremonious exit from the network late last year.
“It’s a personal thrill to be involved in Stan and the Nine Network’s coverage of the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong,” said Tomalaris in the media release earlier today.
He will be joined by Olympic gold medallist from the Madison at the Sydney Olympics, Scott McGrory, who has a long history in television broadcasts, most recently having called the cycling action from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Alongside McGrory will be Kate Bates, a former professional rider on the road and a world championship medallist on the track.
The other presenter named in the official release today is Sophie Smith who “will be on the ground in Wollongong, providing in-depth coverage”.
Bates has also been a regular on the TV for cycling broadcasts, but she is also part of AusCycling’s High-Performance Committee, so she will be able to offer a few insights that others may not be privy to.
On Channel Nine’s ‘Sport Sunday’ program last weekend, she hinted that there could be some selection issues relating to the Australian team and maybe even “a little bit in the Court of Arbritration this week”. Her prediction turned out to be true as there has been a delay in the announcement of the elite and under-23 teams for the championships that will be contested in and around Wollongong from 18 to 25 September.
“It’s not often that we get a home world championship. The last time was in Geelong over a decade ago,” said Bates on Sport Sunday. “The Aussie team will be announced a bit later this week. But usually, coming into this kind of event, you have some target Aussies that you think will be keen and some others who say, ‘It’s not my kind of course.’
“But this time everybody wants a piece of the action.
“So, Michael Matthews is our number-one shot in the men’s [road race] and I think, in the women’s [events], it’s a bit broader.
“We’ve got Grace Brown, Amanda Spratt, Sarah Roy… some real hopes.
“But,” added Bates, “I actually reckon we might get a little bit in the Court of Arbitration this week – a few appeals going. It’s getting a bit spicey.
“So, that’ll be interesting. I think it’s a tough job for the selectors but once that all clears, we can focus in on the prep and it’s pretty exciting actually.”
Expect to hear much more from Tomalaris, Bates, McGrory and Smith in the lead-up to the championships which include 11 medal events for juniors, under-23 and elite riders.
All the racing will be “streaming ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport” but, from what RIDE Media understands, only the elite races will be shown on free-to-air TV.
“Stan Sport will be the only place to watch every minute of every race across seven days of competition, with daily highlights and recaps available to stream on demand,” says the media release.
“The Nine Network will show live coverage of the men elite and women elite road races plus live crosses to the men’s and women’s time trials.”
The elite time trials come on the first day of the championships, Sunday 18 September, and 2022 will mark the first time that both men and women compete this discipline over the same distance (34.2km).
“This is an enormous event in the world sporting calendar,” said Stan’s director of sport, Ben Kimber, “and we’re extremely pleased to be able to add a quality team to Stan Sport’s coverage. Michael, Kate, Scott and Sophie will ensure viewers are given the best possible expertise and insight into the on and off course events that are going to light up Wollongong.”
– By Rob Arnold