The racing kicks off on Tuesday afternoon with the time trial for under-23 men. The first real medal chance for Great Britain comes on Wednesday afternoon in the women?s time trial.

Here is cyclingweekly.co.uk?s preview of this week?s World Championships, with all you need to know about the racing in Varese.

We’ll add previews to the main events as the week goes on and the start lists are released and, of course, we’ll have the best reports, reaction and analysis.

While many are anticipating the excitement of the predicted clash between the Italian Paolo Bettini and the Spaniard Oscar Freire and their respective teams in the men’s road race, or waiting to see who can succeed Fabian Cancellara as time trial champion, the British team can travel with great optimisim.

We weigh up the medal hopes of the strongest Great Britain team to tackle the road World Championships in years.

Plus we take a look back over the past decade, charting every British performance in the under-23, women?s and men?s road races at the World Championships to show just how much progress has been made since Valkenburg ten years ago.

LINKS

Every British medallist at the road World Championships

How Britain’s riders have fared in the under-23, women’s and men’s road races since 1998

UNDER-23 TRIAL

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Distance 33.55km

When?s it on? 1pm to 3.45pm UK time (on British Eurosport)

Who?s riding for Great Britain?

33rd Russell Hampton at 2-48

36th Alex Dowsett at 2-59

Recent winners

2007 Lars Boom (Ned)

2006 Dominique Cornu (Bel)

2005 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus)

GB?s chance of a medal

Slim. Dowsett is developing into a very good rider against the clock but the opposition is too strong

Links

Report: Italy’s Malori wins under-23 time trial gold

Reaction: British riders Hampton and Dowsett reflect on their time trial

WOMEN’S TIME TRIAL

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

Distance 25.15km

When?s it on? 1pm to 4pm UK time (on BBCi and British Eurosport)

Who?s riding for Great Britain?

8th Emma Pooley at 57sec

19th Sharon Laws 2-03

Recent winners

2007 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)

2006 Kristin Armstrong (USA)

2005 Karin Thürig (Swi)

GB?s chance of a medal

Very strong. Julian Winn believes Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws could both get on the podium if everything goes to plan. Pooley will look to match or improve her silver medal ride in Beijing, even if the course isn?t quite as suitable for her. Laws could be a big surprise

Links

Final start list on UCI’s site

Preview: Pooley to use her ‘special’ handlebars again

CW’s live coverage and initial report: Amber Neben takes the title

Pooley disappointed with eighth place

MEN’S TIME TRIAL

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

Distance 43.7km

When?s it on? 12noon to 4.30pm UK time (on BBCi and British Eurosport)

Who?s riding for Great Britain?

9th David Millar at 1-25

25th Steve Cummings at 2-54

Recent winners

2007 Fabian Cancellara (Swi)

2006 Fabian Cancellara (Swi)

2005 Michael Rogers (Aus)

GB?s chance of a medal

Better than it was now Cancellara is not riding. Millar would need to pull a big ride out of the bag. Both British riders could make the top ten. Cummings is in great form

Links

Millar and Cummings ready for time trial test

Preview: CW predicts how the top ten will turn out

Live report and results: Bert Grabsch grabs time trial gold

UNDER-23 ROAD RACE

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

Distance 173km

When?s it on? 12noon to 4pm UK time (on British Eurosport)

Who?s riding for Great Britain?

4th Ben Swift same time

77th Jonny Bellis at 5-23

88th Jonny McEvoy at 7-32

DNF Peter Kennaugh

DNF Alex Dowsett

Recent winners

2007 Peter Velits (Svk)

2006 Gerald Ciolek (Ger)

2005 Dmitriy Grabovskiy (Ukr)

GB?s chance of a medal

Arguably better than last year, when Jonny Bellis won that amazing bronze in the final sprint. Ben Swift is in great form, Pete Kennaugh could be a dark horse and a repeat performance from Bellis isn?t out of the question.

Links

How Britain?s riders have fared in the under-23 road race (1998-2007)

Start list: On the UCI website

Preview: GB gunning for medals

Report and reaction plus live coverage as it happened

Reaction: Ben Swift on his superb ride

WOMEN’S ROAD RACE

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

Distance 138km

When?s it on? 12noon to 4pm UK time (on BBCi and British Eurosport)

Who?s riding for Great Britain?

1st Nicole Cooke

28th Sharon Laws at 1-47

35th Emma Pooley at 1-56

41st Lizzie Armitstead at 5-24

61st Jessica Allen at 6-11

Recent winners

2007 Marta Bastianelli (Ita)

2006 Marianne Vos (Ned)

2005 Regina Schleicher (Ger)

GB?s chance of a medal

The strongest Great Britain team ever to take part in the World Championships, with Cooke a hot favourite following her Olympic win and Pooley and Laws, who are more than just team-mates, they are genuine contenders. Like in the under-23 road race, there is real cause for optimism

Links

How Britain?s riders have fared in the women?s road race (1998-2007)

Start list: On the UCI website

Preview: Cooke quietly confident

Cooke wins the world championship road race

Cooke powers to victory

Cooke’s reaction: We just wanted to do our best

MEN’S ROAD RACE

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

Distance 260km

When?s it on? 9am to 4.30pm UK time (on BBCi and British Eurosport)

Who?s riding for Great Britain?

Steve Cummings

Russell Downing

Chris Froome

David Millar

Ian Stannard

Geraint Thomas

Recent winners

2007 Paolo Bettini (Ita)

2006 Paolo Bettini (Ita)

2005 Tom Boonen (Bel)

GB?s chance of a medal

Not really any chance but there is the prospect of a greatly improved performance from the British team, which is six strong for the first time since Madrid in 2005.

Links

Bettini to retire after the World Championships

How Britain?s riders have fared in the men?s road race (1998-2007)

Start list on UCI website

Results and report to come

WHAT IS THE COURSE LIKE?

English version of the official Varese 2008 site has maps, profiles and loads of other info

WHERE ARE THE START LISTS?

UCI site will have the start lists


ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008

NEWS

Cooke: “We wanted to do our best”

Bettini to retire after World Champs

GB gunning for medals in under-23 road race

Millar and Cummings disappointed with TT result

Thursday’s World Champs 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

Men’s road race: Ballan solos home for World Champs win

Women’s road race: Cooke powers to gold

Under-23 men’s road race: Colombian takes gold, Swift fourth

Men’s time trial: Grabsch grabs the win

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

Under-23 time trial: report, results, photos

PHOTOS

Men’s road race photo gallery, by Luc Claessen

Women’s road race photo gallery by Luc Claessen

Under-23 men’s road race, by Graham Watson

Men’s time trial, by Luc Claessen

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>>