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>>