The UCI expects around 1,000 riders to converge on Wollongong later this month when the world championships come to town. Here is a quick overview of the number of starters that will be eligible for the elite road races on the final weekend…
– By Rob Arnold (Photos: Zac Williams)
If he recovers from the recent crash that forced him out of the Vuelta a España, and if Julian Alaphilippe decides to travel to Australia to compete in the world championships later this month, France could start the final race with more riders than any other nation. The winner of the elite men’s road races in 2020 and 2021 automatically qualifies an additional spot for the French team, which is already ranked in the top-tier of the UCI’s rider quota system.
The top 10 nations in the elite men’s world ranking system are able to field a team of eight riders for the final race of the championships.
France recently dropped from first to third in the elite men’s category which is now being led by Belgium (15,815.17 points), followed by Slovenia (11,118 points).
Rounding out the top 10 as of the end of August are: France (10,832.67 points), Netherlands (9,739.66), Spain (8,966.33), Denmark (8,612.33), Great Britain (8,273), Italy (7,806), Australia (6,974) and Colombia (6,662).
The only other time that there has been a road cycling world championships contested in Australia, the final event on the program – the elite men’s road race (3 October 2010) – featured a sizeable contingent of nine Australians, including the defending champion Cadel Evans.
See below for a summary of how many starters the respective national teams are able to field in the elite men’s road race.
Dutch team dominates women’s world rankings
Meanwhile, the quota for the women’s peloton means the top five nations can start with seven riders in the penultimate event of the #Wollongong2022 program, the elite women’s road race on Saturday 25 September.
Italy boasts the defending world champion, Elisa Balsamo, so the Squadra Azzurri will have the strength of numbers by being in the top five of the world rankings (second, as of the end of August) and being allowed to start with an extra rider.
Italy has been consistently strong in the world championships, but the Dutch continue to hold the aces in women’s racing with the likes of Lorena Wiebes and Marianne Vos helping to keep the Netherlands at the top of the world rankings with 14,019.99 UCI points.
The other countries that can go to the worlds with the maximum number of starters are: Italy (with 12,176 points), Belgium (4,594.66), France (4,571) and Poland (4,086).
The host nation of the 2022 worlds recently jumped from ninth in the UCI ranking system to eighth, meaning Australia will be able to start the elite women’s road race (which will also determine the medallist for the under-23 crown) later this month with six riders.
See below for a summary of how many starters the respective national teams are able to field in the elite women’s road race.
National teams are beginning to confirm their selections for Wollongong, with USA, Australia and Belgium amongst the first to announce their rosters. And more will follow in the coming days, with racing due to start in just 15 days.
– By Rob Arnold
You can already find plenty of news items and course previews. Search #Wollongong2022 and/or #VisitWollongong for more.