Remco Evenepoel made history in Wollongong this weekend, winning the Men's Elite World Championship title at only 22 years of age. While the Australian side failed to get a win, they did manage to get Michael Matthews onto the podium, with a bronze medal.

As the final event of the 2022 World Championships, Australians and the international cycling community flocked to Wollongong for one final race. However, it was well before a single push of pedals that one of the biggest moments of the race happened.

In one of the more unusual prologues of a cycling race, the cycling world woke to the news that Matthew van der Poel had been arrested and released on bail overnight. Expected to be a race favourite, this was a huge shakeup of potential contenders.

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While he did start the race, he withdrew early on, with the lack of sleep likely getting to him.

A small break formed early in the race, as riders such as Juraj Sagan attempted to get ahead of the peloton ahead of Mt Keira, to challenge the race.

The French carried the bulk of the effort in the chase up Mt Keira and ended up breaking the peloton into two groups.

As the new chasing group developed, with many race favourites, Australia managed to get Jai Hindley into this new group.

“The team was great today – we expected an attack on Keira, it happened and we had three guys in that bunch,” Matthews analysed after the race.

“That took a lot of effort off the rest of us.”

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As the riders continued into the city circuit laps, the chase group continued their pursuit of the initial breakaway, with Tadej Pojacar working hard to bring down the time gap.

Around 60 km from the finish, the chase group joined up with the main breakaway and tried more attacks to get a smaller group. Eventually, they managed, as Ben O'Connor and Hindley were joined by riders including Romain Bardet and Remco Evenepoel.

More attacks continued from this smaller group, until Alexey Lutsenko and Evenepoel manage to separate themselves, and began working together to build the time gap.

They continued pushing the pace, but Lutsenko found himself unable to keep up, and fell behind the others.

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With this, Evenepoel continued his ride solo, unrivalled for his first rainbow jersey.

Back in the peloton things began to get more frantic, as they began to catch smaller groups that had dropped off the chase.

As Lutsenko struggled on the final climb of Mount Pleasant, the chasing groups, and eventually peloton caught him too, and a final sprint became almost inevitable.

Jan Tratnik of Slovenia made a desperate last-minute attack for the silver, but unlike Van Vlueten in the womens, was unable to keep the peloton at bay.

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Reaching the final metres of the race, the sprint began, with Christophe Laporte and Matthews getting to the line to round out the medal count.

“I saw the French team lining up for Laporte, jumped on the back of that and did my thing,” confirmed Matthews.

Post-race, Evenepoel said that this was the greatest achievement of his cycling career and that he was very proud of this season.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, it’s just a big achievement in my career and my life.

“When the French team opened the race we just had to be there.

“When I started to ride a bike I had two or three goals: to win Liege, a grand tour and a world championship.”