Hot on the heels of the council's commitment for Wollongong to become a world-renowned cycling destination, the city has secured a new run of events that will attract hundreds of the country's best cyclists.
Australia's major cycling body, AusCycling, announced on Wednesday that its junior and masters road championships will be held in Wollongong and Kiama in 2022.
The national championships are considered the most prestigious cycling event in the country, and are expected to attract more than 1000 participants from September 13-16.
Adding to their significance for Wollongong, the nationals will run just days before riders from around the world converge on the region for the UCI Road World Championships, which has been estimated to inject $94 million into the region's economy.
Destination Wollongong's Jeremy Wilshire said the flow-on effects of three major cycling events held in the same month would be momentous for the city.
"These new events will bring an economic impact in their own right, and being able to bolt that on to the UCI championships is a great coup for the city," he said.
"The masters and juniors have never been held together before - they are usually awarded separately in different states and at different times of the year. But because of the opportunity that AusCycling saw to get the leverage out of the world championships, it's really exciting to see all these events together in the one place."
He said the national events would attract more than 1000 athletes, and juniors would be expected to travel with family members, meaning thousands of tourists would converge on the region.
Many people are expected to extend their stay in the Illawarra to attend the international championships.
"This will be really family-oriented, which means there will be effects across the board, with tourism products, hospitality and accommodation and also all the support services, like gyms, physios, newsagents, service stations," he said.
Each championship will have three components, a road race, criterium and time trial. The road race will be held just outside Kiama and the other two competitions will be held in central Wollongong, with the exact location and route of these yet to be decided.
Mr Wiltshire said the city's recent commitment to cycling had been a clincher in securing the events.
"Kudos to the council for how they've really been so proactive in this space. It really does make a genuine difference when we engage with industry and operators because they can see this push towards a bike-friendly city is really strong," he said.
"Having the Cycling Strategy ratified on Monday night was huge, and it gives us a great deal of leverage in the marketplace."
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the run of cycling events would provide a huge and long-lasting economic boost for the region.
"This won't just be a sugar hit," he said. "It will not only stimulate employment and spend leading up to it and during the event itself, it puts Wollongong on the map internationally.
"It's the best advertising in terms of tourism that anyone could ask for, and there will be replications of these events in the future because we've got the infrastructure in place."
He said the city would release an accommodation strategy, and was looking into how it could set up temporary camp sites to accommodate the large number of visitors expected.
He also hoped the events would pave the way for more government grant funding.
"This is going to be a massive event for the city in September of 2022, and it gives us the impetus to get the infrastructure in place," he said.
"With this momentum, we'll be able to go in hard to ask the government for grant funding."
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