Gallery: Best of the Worlds

A look back at the rainbow jersey winners

The 2014 UCI Road World Championships begins this weekend in Ponferrada, Spain with the trade team time trials kicking off a week of races that will see riders fight for the right to wear the rainbow jersey for the following year.

The main event of the Worlds is the elite men's road race which be will be held on Sunday, September 28 over 254.8 testing kilometres. The elite women's race will be held the day before and is sure to produce equal drama over 127.4km

Cyclingnews has gone back over the archives to find the best shots of the Worlds road races' in recent years. From Joaquim Rodríguez's (Spain) tears on the podium having seen his rainbow jersey hopes go up in smoke last year, to Paolo Bettini (Italy) gesturing to his critics with a gun as his celebration of his 2007 victory, the race isn't always the 'best' of the season but is eagerly anticipated by riders and fans alike with a multitude of emotions on display.

In 2006, a young Marianne Vos (Netherlands) burst onto the elite scene with victory in the women's race on the streets of Salzburg. She would have to wait six years before adding a second road rainbow jersey to her wardrobe,  but not before going agonisingly close for five years running as she stood on the podium, silver medal around her neck.

While Vos has been ever present on the podium for the last seven years, Alejandro Valverde (Spain) holds the records for the most medal in the men's race but he is yet to claim the ultimate prize. Could 2014 be his year?

Cyclingnews will provide full coverage of the Worlds so make sure to click back throughout the week to find out who the 2014 World Champions will be.

Click here to look back at the best of the men's and women's road races from recent years.

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