The elite men’s and women’s time trials of next year’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships in Wollongong, Australia, will take place on the same day, course and over the same distance for the first time.

In a statement announcing the move, the UCI said it is “in line with the UCI’s priority of promoting gender equality.” Both races will take place on September 18, the first day of the Championship in the Australian coastal city.

At last year’s World Championships in Flanders, the women’s time trial took place over 30.3 kilometers, 10 km shorter than the men’s elite race.

The time trials for all categories at the Wollongong event will be held on a street circuit. Road races are also on the Championships calendar and will take place on the weekend of September 24 and 25.

Australia has imposed some of the toughest and strictest COVID-19 border controls in the world, preventing the UCI from visiting Wollongong to inspect the event preparations. Final details for the Championship will be confirmed in the first quarter of 2022, the UCI said.

“After five years in Europe, the UCI was really looking forward to seeing its UCI Road World Championships organized on another continent,” said UCI President David Lappartient.

“After Richmond in 2015 and Doha in 2016, I am delighted that Wollongong has been chosen to host our main annual event in 2022. This marks a return to Oceania, indeed to Australia, 12 years after the World Championships in UCI route in Melbourne and Geelong in 2010.

“All conditions must be met to ensure that athletes can compete to the fullest and put on a fantastic show for the public. I know that Wollongong will meet our expectations.

“This UCI Bike City has demonstrated many times its commitment to providing cyclists of all levels with the best possible infrastructure.

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has limited our ability to visit Wollongong to date, the UCI hopes to visit us in the first quarter of 2022 to meet the people involved in organizing this event, finalize planning with the Organizing Committee, and Confirm all the details of the competition, which will then be communicated to the entire international cycling community ”.