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"Worlds in Australia... really a mutation?"  Column by Steve Morabito

“Worlds in Australia… really a mutation?” Column by Steve Morabito

This week, the scandal in the organization of the World Cup in Australia, the value of the rainbow jersey when so many stars withdrew, and the faltering of the French team were teased by many friends. Business Class, while other delegates are in Economy Class…not to mention that many countries, due to lack of funds, have given up sending athletes…if not the best, what is the Worlds award to Australia? there?

The fact that Ireland (26th out of 201 in the UCI rankings) did not send a team for financial reasons, but rather leads me to question the budgetary planning of a national federation that knew years in advance that the worlds would take place. Australia in 2022 and 2023 in Glasgow (about 200 kilometers from Belfast).

Looking at the list of registrants, I see that a good number of champions have traveled. With the hilly circuit on offer, I don’t think we’re going to get bored at the end of the race. Well, Jonas Wingegaard, the last winner of the Tour de France, will not be in attendance. But with the exception of 2018 in Innsbruck (1st Valverde, 2nd Bardet) and 2009 in Mentrizio (1st Cadel Evans), the riders of the grand tours don’t usually shine at worlds.

“It would be prejudicial to reserve the Worlds for European countries, especially in Australia, where I’ve often stayed, and they’re crazy about cycling.”

Personally, I have had the opportunity to race in Australia a dozen times. I stayed there for several months and I can assure you they are crazy about cycling there. In 2007, I won two stages at the Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne. In 2010, I participated in the first World Championships organized in Australia (which was in Geelong with Thor Hushovd’s victory) and from 2008 to 2019, year after year, the Tour Down Under, which attracted large numbers of spectators from all over Australia.

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In my opinion, assigning world countries to European countries would be biased. Rainbow Jersey races should be a treat, an opportunity to bring cycling fans together around a unique event. They should also offer some countries like Bangladesh, Samoas, Dominica, Arab Emirates or the Vatican an opportunity to meet and talk with their young athletes. year.

For those who doubt the value of future world champions, I assure you that 164 km and 2400 m for females and 267 km and 4000 m for males should not crown three-week-old rabbits. Champions with the physical attributes that allow them to shine on this type of course will be there overcoming the eight-hour time difference.