Selection shock for Aussie world champs team

Australian cycling sprint king Caleb Ewan is reportedly set for heartbreak by missing selection for next month’s UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong.

Belgium publication Het Nieuwsblad reported that national selector Rory Sutherland had informed the 28-year-old that he’d missed the cut with all-rounder Michael Matthews set to lead a crack team that is likely to also include Giro d’Italia champion Jai Hindley .

Australia was scheduled to announce their team on Tuesday but that has been delayed while selection appeals are being heard.

Stan Sport’s exclusive coverage of the 2022 UCI Road World Championships begins on September 18 with every race streaming ad-free, live and on-demand

“Two athletes have appealed, as is their right, and we will give the process the time it needs,” AusCycling’s Jesse Korf said.

”We anticipate an announcement on the Australian team for the championships to be made next week.”

Ewan has endured a difficult year and non-selection would be a bitter blow after targeting the home event for a long time.

“It is something that I have been thinking about for a few years now, ever since they announced it was going to be in Wollongong,” Ewan said last year.

Australian cycling great Kate Bates – who will provide expert analysis for Stan Sport and Nine – said uncertainty over the course had made selection especially contentious.

“Usually courses are pretty clear in what kind of rider it suits and the team are really built around that,” Bates told Wide World of Sports.

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“But this is a course, already with a few teams named, you can tell they’re not quite sure how it’s going to go and they’re hedging their bets a little bit.

“Because instead of just the sprinters or the one day specialists putting their hands up – literally every Australian that’s ever had success is putting their hand up going ‘I reckon this course could suit me.’ I think there is potential for big names to miss out.”

While Ewan is reportedly set for bad news, the appeals process could potentially provide a late curveball.

“I think Caleb Ewan may miss out,” Bates said.

“And at the other end of the spectrum for the Aussies is the Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley, who’s a climber. Now if they back Caleb and think it could be a sprinter’s race then someone like Jai may miss out because they’re clearly not backing a climber.And they’re two of the biggest names we have in the sport with how much they win and their high profile.

“I’d suggest that one of them may miss the team and I don’t know which one. You have to have a team with a goal to win – it’s not just about putting together the six best performers from the year. And so that’s where I feel exceptionally confident that Michael Matthews will be on the start line. They’ll definitely take him.”

Bates will be part of Stan Sport’s star-studded commentary team to be headed by the highly respected Michael Tomalaris.

Former Olympic cyclist Scott McGrory is also on board for the September 18-25 program along with sports journalist Sophie Smith.

Wollongong 2022 will be only the second time Australia has hosted the event in its storied 101 year history.

“The week-long UCI worlds is Australia’s answer to the Tour de France,” Tomalaris said.

“The only difference being the world’s most recognizable riders will be racing in national colors rather than for their professional teams. Wollongong 2022 will be the biggest international sporting event of the year to reach our shores.”

A city-based circuit will be used for all time trials and 11 events will be contested in front of an expected 300,000 spectators.

Stan Sport will be the only place to watch every minute of every race, with daily highlights and recaps available to stream on demand.

Nine will show live coverage of the elite road races plus live crosses at the time trials.

“This is an enormous event in the world sporting calendar and we’re extremely pleased to be able to add a quality team to Stan Sport’s coverage,” Stan’s director of sport Ben Kimber said.

“Mike, 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.”

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