ARMSTRONG COULD RIDE THE GIRO D?ITALIA

According to reports in Thursday?s edition of Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport, Lance Armstrong could ride the Giro d?Italia during his comeback in 2009.

The Texan has announced he will start his comeback at the Tour Down Under in Australia and is targeting the Tour de France. He never rode the Giro during his career but is tempted to head to Italy next May.

?I?ve only said which races I?m going to ride, so I can?t exclude [the Giro d?Italia],? Armstrong told Gazzetta.

?The next Giro is the centenary edition and so I know how important it?ll be for the tifosi. If I can get Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi involved more in the fight against cancer, and if it fits in with other things, who knows. It could be the right year to do it. Race director Angelo Zomegnan is a good friend of mine??

2009 CENTENARY GIRO D?ITALIA TO START IN VENICE

Rumours circulating at the world championships suggest that the 2009 Giro d?Italia, the centenary edition of the race will start in Venice.

The Giro usually finishes in Milan, the home of the Gazzetta dello Sport that organises the race but there are rumours that the 2009 could finish in Rome for only the third time in the long history of the race.

Several historic stages are set to be recreated, including the legendary Cuneo to Pinerolo that Fausto Coppi won in 1949.

BETTINI READY TO REWRITE HISTORY

Italy?s Paolo Bettini is under huge pressure to win a third world championships on home roads, but insists he is relaxed and will celebrate whatever the result.

?I know I?ve got a chance to make a little bit of world championship history because nobody has ever won the world title three times [in a row]. I could get wound up about it but I?m actually very relaxed,? Bettini told Italian Sky television.

Bettini is the leader of the Italian team with the likes of Davide Rebellin, Damiano Cunego and Luca Paolini all set to sacrifice their chances to help Bettini win a third consecutive title. Only Alessandro Ballan will be an alternative leader but his poor sprint means the Italians? ?Plan B? is unlikely to be used. Riders of the quality of Danilo Di Luca and Filippo Pozzato were left out of the team so that the Italian team is built around Bettini.

?We?re a good team that has been carefully created, we?re friends and we?ve all known each other for years and all raced together. We all know Sunday is going to be a special day,? Bettini said.

The 34 year-old Tuscan will celebrate what ever happens in the road race on Sunday because it is also his daughter?s fifth birthday. ?Even if I don?t get a third rainbow jersey, we?ll celebrate. Veronica?s fifth birthday is important too??

VERBRUGGEN RETIRES

On the day Lance Armstrong confirmed his return, another key player in cycling troubled past quietly announced he was retiring.

Hein Verbruggen said he was quitting his role of UCI vice-president at the age of 67 and would retire to study medieval history. He remain an honorary president of the UCI but will have no direct involvement in the running of the sport. Verbruggen quit his role at the International Olympic Committee in August after the Beijing Games.

ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008

NEWS

Millar and Cummings ready for Elite men’s time trial

World Champs men’s time trial course notes

Pooley and Laws talk before Worlds time trial

Pooley to use special time trial bars again

British under-23 TT riders finish out of the top 30

Daniel Martin selected for Irish under-23 worlds team

British team heads to Varese with genuine medal hopes

Cancellara to miss World Championships

Swift a close second in final race before Worlds

Rob Hayles on why he’s not riding the Worlds

GB Women’s Worlds team confirmed

British Worlds team starts to take shape

Geraint Thomas called up to Worlds team to replace Cavendish

Mark Cavendish pulls out of Worlds team

RACE REPORTS

Women’s time trial: America’s Amber Neben takes title

Under-23 time trial: report, results, photos

PHOTOS

Women’s time trial, by Graham Watson

Under-23 men’s time trial

2007 World Champs: Men’s road race

2007 World Champs: Women’s road race

2008 WORLD CHAMPS GUIDE

Preview>>

TV coverage guide>>

Brits in the men’s world road race 1998-2007>>

Brits in the women’s world road race 1998-2007>>

Brits in the under-23 world road race 1998-2007>>

Britain’s road world championships medal winners>>