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Gallery: Best of the Worlds

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Paolo Bettini (Italy) takes aim at his critics after winning the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart

Paolo Bettini (Italy) takes aim at his critics after winning the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Ballan made it three wins in three years for Italy when he won in Varese in 2008

Alessandro Ballan made it three wins in three years for Italy when he won in Varese in 2008
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) on the podium as the Italian national anthem plays

Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) on the podium as the Italian national anthem plays
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Didi the Devil spotted at the 2011 Worlds

Didi the Devil spotted at the 2011 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) signs that the 2011 Worlds is her second

Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) signs that the 2011 Worlds is her second
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2011 women's World Championships podium (l-to-r): Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany)

The 2011 women's World Championships podium (l-to-r): Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) goes back-to-back as she wins the 2011 Worlds

Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) goes back-to-back as she wins the 2011 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giorgia Bronzini celebrates the 2011 Worlds win with her Italian teammates

Giorgia Bronzini celebrates the 2011 Worlds win with her Italian teammates
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish's (Great Britain) decision to go all-aero proved to be wise as he won the 2011 Worlds

Mark Cavendish's (Great Britain) decision to go all-aero proved to be wise as he won the 2011 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) on the podium after collecting the rainbow jersey

Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) on the podium after collecting the rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) celebrates the 2011 Worlds win

Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) celebrates the 2011 Worlds win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Heinrich Haussler (Australia) sits up to watch the sprint unfold

Heinrich Haussler (Australia) sits up to watch the sprint unfold
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) proved worthy of his title as the worlds fastest man when he won the 2011 Worlds

Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) proved worthy of his title as the worlds fastest man when he won the 2011 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) adjusts his rainbow jersey

Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) adjusts his rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2011 World Championships podium of Matt Goss (Australia), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), and André Greipel (Germany)

The 2011 World Championships podium of Matt Goss (Australia), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), and André Greipel (Germany)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The second title means a lot to Marianne Vos (Netherlands) who finished runner-up at the Worlds from 2007-2011

The second title means a lot to Marianne Vos (Netherlands) who finished runner-up at the Worlds from 2007-2011
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) has enough time to grab a Dutch flag as she wins the 2012 Worlds

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) has enough time to grab a Dutch flag as she wins the 2012 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Contrasting emotions as Marianne Vos (Netherlands) curses a fifth straight silver medal while Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) gets her second rainbow jersey on the trot

Contrasting emotions as Marianne Vos (Netherlands) curses a fifth straight silver medal while Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) gets her second rainbow jersey on the trot
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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It's not just France that has lovely scenery for bike races. Australia put on a show in 2010 when it hosted the worlds

It's not just France that has lovely scenery for bike races. Australia put on a show in 2010 when it hosted the worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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What every cyclist wants and what Thor Hushovd (Norway) won in 2010

What every cyclist wants and what Thor Hushovd (Norway) won in 2010
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) celebrates her 2009 Worlds title

Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) celebrates her 2009 Worlds title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) in the rainbow jersey

Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) in the rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) rides away to the 2009 World Championships win

Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) rides away to the 2009 World Championships win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2009 women's World Championships podium of Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) and Noemi Cantele (Italy)

The 2009 women's World Championships podium of Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) and Noemi Cantele (Italy)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) with Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) on hs wheel

Cadel Evans (Australia) with Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) on hs wheel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) celebrates his 2009 World Championships victory

Cadel Evans (Australia) celebrates his 2009 World Championships victory
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) can'y quiet believe he won the world title

Cadel Evans (Australia) can'y quiet believe he won the world title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) only big ringed the final climb once but that was all he needed to as he rode away to win the 2009 title

Cadel Evans (Australia) only big ringed the final climb once but that was all he needed to as he rode away to win the 2009 title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) attacked on the final climb of the final circuit in Mendrisio and rode away to collect the 2009 rainbow jersey

Cadel Evans (Australia) attacked on the final climb of the final circuit in Mendrisio and rode away to collect the 2009 rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2009 World Championships podium (l-to-r): Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia), Cadel Evans (Australia) and Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain)

The 2009 World Championships podium (l-to-r): Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia), Cadel Evans (Australia) and Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Thor Hushovd (Norway) proves to be too quick for Matti Breschel (Denmark) as he wins the 2010 Worlds

Thor Hushovd (Norway) proves to be too quick for Matti Breschel (Denmark) as he wins the 2010 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2010 World Championships podium (l-to-r): Matti Breschel (Denmark), Thor Hushovd (Norway) and Allan Davis (Australia)

The 2010 World Championships podium (l-to-r): Matti Breschel (Denmark), Thor Hushovd (Norway) and Allan Davis (Australia)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was aggressive at the 2010 Worlds but ended the race empty handed

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was aggressive at the 2010 Worlds but ended the race empty handed
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Thor Hushovd (Norway) raises his arms to celebrate his 2010 win

Thor Hushovd (Norway) raises his arms to celebrate his 2010 win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Your 2010 World Champion Thor Hushovd (Norway)

Your 2010 World Champion Thor Hushovd (Norway)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2012 women's World Championships podium (l-to-r): Rachel Neylan (Australia), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

The 2012 women's World Championships podium (l-to-r): Rachel Neylan (Australia), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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When Marianne Vos (Netherlands) went there was no catching her

When Marianne Vos (Netherlands) went there was no catching her
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rachel Neylan (Asutralia) leads Marianne Vos (Netherlands) on the last lap of the 2012 Worlds

Rachel Neylan (Asutralia) leads Marianne Vos (Netherlands) on the last lap of the 2012 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The women's 2013 World podium: Emma Johansson (Sweden), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Rossella Ratto (Italy)

The women's 2013 World podium: Emma Johansson (Sweden), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Rossella Ratto (Italy)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) after claiming back-to-back rainbow jerseys in 2013

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) after claiming back-to-back rainbow jerseys in 2013
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa (Portugal) can't quite fathom just what he's done

Rui Costa (Portugal) can't quite fathom just what he's done
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) can't believe he lost and Rui Costa (Portugal) can't believe he won

Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) can't believe he lost and Rui Costa (Portugal) can't believe he won
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa (Portugal) outsprints Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) for the World Championships gold medal

Rui Costa (Portugal) outsprints Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) for the World Championships gold medal
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa (Portugal) rode a tactical race to win the 2013 Worldsa

Rui Costa (Portugal) rode a tactical race to win the 2013 Worldsa
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain) found enough in reserve to beat Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) for the bronze medal. It was Valverde's second bronze medal in two years

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) found enough in reserve to beat Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) for the bronze medal. It was Valverde's second bronze medal in two years
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa (Portugal) poses for the photographers

Rui Costa (Portugal) poses for the photographers
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Portugal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) on the podium in 2013

Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Portugal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) on the podium in 2013
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa (Portugal) in the rainbow jersey

Rui Costa (Portugal) in the rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2013 World Championships podium of Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Portugal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

The 2013 World Championships podium of Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Portugal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) launched a late attack and looked certain to win the 2013 Worlds

Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) launched a late attack and looked certain to win the 2013 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and teammate Rui Costa (Portugal) share a word after the podium celebration

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and teammate Rui Costa (Portugal) share a word after the podium celebration
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There was no hiding the tears for Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) on the 2013 podium

There was no hiding the tears for Joaquim Rodríguez (Spain) on the 2013 podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali's (Italy) hope for the rainbow jersey on hoem soil ended with a last lap crash

Vincenzo Nibali's (Italy) hope for the rainbow jersey on hoem soil ended with a last lap crash
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) celebrates her third world title

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) celebrates her third world title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Emma Johansson (Sweden), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Rossella Ratto (Italy) make up the 2013 podium

Emma Johansson (Sweden), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Rossella Ratto (Italy) make up the 2013 podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) finally breaks her five year streak of silver medals as she wins the 2012 Worlds in Valkenburg

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) finally breaks her five year streak of silver medals as she wins the 2012 Worlds in Valkenburg
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) won her second title on home soil in 2012

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) won her second title on home soil in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) won the silver medal in 2012

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) won the silver medal in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain) won the sprint for third place in 2012

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) won the sprint for third place in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton can only sit back and watch Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) claim the 2012 Worlds title

The peloton can only sit back and watch Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) claim the 2012 Worlds title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) had plenty of time to celebrate his win

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) had plenty of time to celebrate his win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) in the middle of the 2012 podium

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) in the middle of the 2012 podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) checks how gold his gold medal really is

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) checks how gold his gold medal really is
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) knows the rainbow jersey is all his

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) knows the rainbow jersey is all his
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2012 podium (l-to-r): Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

The 2012 podium (l-to-r): Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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2012 World Champion Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)

2012 World Champion Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) goes and won't be seen again until the podium by his rivals

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) goes and won't be seen again until the podium by his rivals
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) launches his race winning move in 2012

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) launches his race winning move in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Then UCI president Pat McQuaid presents the rainbow jersey to Philippe Gilbert in 2012

Then UCI president Pat McQuaid presents the rainbow jersey to Philippe Gilbert in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen and Belgian teammate Philippe Gilbert talk tactics in 2012

Tom Boonen and Belgian teammate Philippe Gilbert talk tactics in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was the odd-s on favourite for the 2012 title and duly delivered with a n unstoppable late attack to claim the win

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was the odd-s on favourite for the 2012 title and duly delivered with a n unstoppable late attack to claim the win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Eddy Merckx (Belgium) wins the 1971 Worlds in Mendrisio

Eddy Merckx (Belgium) wins the 1971 Worlds in Mendrisio
(Image credit: AFP)
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The 1995 World Championships podium (l-to-r): Miguel Induráin (Spain), Abraham Olano (Spain), and Marco Pantani (Italy)

The 1995 World Championships podium (l-to-r): Miguel Induráin (Spain), Abraham Olano (Spain), and Marco Pantani (Italy)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Wouter Weylandt (Belgium) gives his girlfriend a kiss at the 2004 Worlds

Wouter Weylandt (Belgium) gives his girlfriend a kiss at the 2004 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Óscar Freire (Spain) wins the 2004 Worlds

Óscar Freire (Spain) wins the 2004 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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World Championships gold medal number three for Óscar Freire (Spain)

World Championships gold medal number three for Óscar Freire (Spain)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2004 podium from Verona: Erik Zabel (Germany), Óscar Freire (Spain) and Luca Paolini (Italy)

The 2004 podium from Verona: Erik Zabel (Germany), Óscar Freire (Spain) and Luca Paolini (Italy)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Óscar Freire (Spain) got pretty used to collecting rainbow jerseys

Óscar Freire (Spain) got pretty used to collecting rainbow jerseys
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Óscar Freire (Spain) gets the second of his three World Championships titles in 2001

Óscar Freire (Spain) gets the second of his three World Championships titles in 2001
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mario Cipollini (Italy) during the 2002 Worlds which he would win

Mario Cipollini (Italy) during the 2002 Worlds which he would win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mario Cipollini (Italy) in the 2002 rainbow jersey

Mario Cipollini (Italy) in the 2002 rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Of course Mario Cipollini (Italy) had perfect hair on the podium after winning the 2002 Worlds

Of course Mario Cipollini (Italy) had perfect hair on the podium after winning the 2002 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Robbie McEwan (Australia) had to be content with silver at the 2002 Worlds

Robbie McEwan (Australia) had to be content with silver at the 2002 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Regina Schleicher (Germany) celebrates the 2005 Worlds win

Regina Schleicher (Germany) celebrates the 2005 Worlds win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Regina Schleicher (Germany) was the 2005 women's Worlds winner

Regina Schleicher (Germany) was the 2005 women's Worlds winner
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) beat Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to the 2005 Worlds

Tom Boonen (Belgium) beat Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to the 2005 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) gets his arms aloft to celebrate his first Worlds title in 2005

Tom Boonen (Belgium) gets his arms aloft to celebrate his first Worlds title in 2005
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert celebrate Boone's win in 2005

Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert celebrate Boone's win in 2005
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Igor Astarloa (Spain) and Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) make up the 2003 Worlds podium

Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Igor Astarloa (Spain) and Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) make up the 2003 Worlds podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Igor Astarloa (Spain) won the 2003 Worlds in Hamilton

Igor Astarloa (Spain) won the 2003 Worlds in Hamilton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Igor Astarloa (Spain) wins alone to collect the 2003 Worlds gold medal

Igor Astarloa (Spain) wins alone to collect the 2003 Worlds gold medal
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Johan Museeuw (Belgium) can hardly believe he's win the 1996 World Championships

Johan Museeuw (Belgium) can hardly believe he's win the 1996 World Championships
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Óscar Freire (Spain) wins the second of the three world titles in 2001

Óscar Freire (Spain) wins the second of the three world titles in 2001
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Mario Cipollini (Italy) claims the 2002 World Championships in Zolder

Mario Cipollini (Italy) claims the 2002 World Championships in Zolder
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (United States) on the top step of the 1993 World Championships podium

Lance Armstrong (United States) on the top step of the 1993 World Championships podium
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Giani Bugno (Italy) won back-to-back rainbow jerseys in 1991 and 1992. Here he is in Benidorm after winning his second Worlds title

Giani Bugno (Italy) won back-to-back rainbow jerseys in 1991 and 1992. Here he is in Benidorm after winning his second Worlds title
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Greg LeMond (United States) wins the 1990 World Championships

Greg LeMond (United States) wins the 1990 World Championships
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alfredo Martini at the 1984 Worlds

Alfredo Martini at the 1984 Worlds
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The 1996 Worlds podium: Mauro Gianetti (Switzerland), Johan Museeuw (Belgium) and Michele Bartoli (Italy)

The 1996 Worlds podium: Mauro Gianetti (Switzerland), Johan Museeuw (Belgium) and Michele Bartoli (Italy)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Johan Museeuw (Belgium) was overcome with emotion after winning the 1996 Worlds

Johan Museeuw (Belgium) was overcome with emotion after winning the 1996 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Scanlon wins the 1998 Juniors Worlds while Pippo Pozzato looks on under his bleached locks

Mark Scanlon wins the 1998 Juniors Worlds while Pippo Pozzato looks on under his bleached locks
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The top three names from the 1998 Worlds

The top three names from the 1998 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) after the Valkenburg Worlds in 1998

Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) after the Valkenburg Worlds in 1998
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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1998 World Champion Oscar Camenzind (Switzerland)

1998 World Champion Oscar Camenzind (Switzerland)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Romāns Vainšteins (Latvia) can't hold back the tears on the 2000 Worlds podium

Romāns Vainšteins (Latvia) can't hold back the tears on the 2000 Worlds podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Romāns Vainšteins (Latvia) takes a surprise win in 2000 at the Plouay Worlds

Romāns Vainšteins (Latvia) takes a surprise win in 2000 at the Plouay Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) on the podium after his 2005 Worlds win in Madrid

Tom Boonen (Belgium) on the podium after his 2005 Worlds win in Madrid
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) celebrates his 2005 triumph in the rainbow jersey

Tom Boonen (Belgium) celebrates his 2005 triumph in the rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) kisses his gold medal on the podium while Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and Anthony Geslin (France) have to be content with silver and bronze

Tom Boonen (Belgium) kisses his gold medal on the podium while Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and Anthony Geslin (France) have to be content with silver and bronze
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Wegmann (Germany) after placing ninth at the 2007 Worlds on home soil

Fabian Wegmann (Germany) after placing ninth at the 2007 Worlds on home soil
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) sprints to the 2007 Worlds win

Paolo Bettini (Italy) sprints to the 2007 Worlds win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) goes back-to-back in 2007 and celebrates his two Worlds victories

Paolo Bettini (Italy) goes back-to-back in 2007 and celebrates his two Worlds victories
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) soaks in his 2007 Worlds win

Paolo Bettini (Italy) soaks in his 2007 Worlds win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) is all smiles after his 2007 Worlds win

Paolo Bettini (Italy) is all smiles after his 2007 Worlds win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2007 men's Worlds podium of Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia), Paolo Bettini (Italy) and Stefan Schumacher (Germany)

The 2007 men's Worlds podium of Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia), Paolo Bettini (Italy) and Stefan Schumacher (Germany)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) celebrates her 2008 win

Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) celebrates her 2008 win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) narrowly beats Marianne Vos (Netherlands) to win the 2008 title

Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) narrowly beats Marianne Vos (Netherlands) to win the 2008 title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) slips the rainbow jersey over her head

Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) slips the rainbow jersey over her head
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2008 Worlds were held in Varese, Italy

The 2008 Worlds were held in Varese, Italy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (Italy) celebrates Worlds victory

Alessandro Ballan (Italy) celebrates Worlds victory
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (Italy) in the rainbow jersey after his 2008 triumph

Alessandro Ballan (Italy) in the rainbow jersey after his 2008 triumph
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (Italy) was the number one rider at the 2008 Worlds

Alessandro Ballan (Italy) was the number one rider at the 2008 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (Italy) has time to check his margin of victory as he wins the 2008 title

Alessandro Ballan (Italy) has time to check his margin of victory as he wins the 2008 title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) attacks in 2007

Paolo Bettini (Italy) attacks in 2007
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) takes aim and fires at his critics to celebrate his 2007 Worlds victory

Paolo Bettini (Italy) takes aim and fires at his critics to celebrate his 2007 Worlds victory
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marta Bastianelli (Italy) heads down and sprinting beats Marianne Vos (Netherlands) to the 2007 Worlds title

Marta Bastianelli (Italy) heads down and sprinting beats Marianne Vos (Netherlands) to the 2007 Worlds title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) holds his 2005 Worlds gold medal aloft

Tom Boonen (Belgium) holds his 2005 Worlds gold medal aloft
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) beats Trixi Worrack (Germany) to the 2006 Wolds title

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) beats Trixi Worrack (Germany) to the 2006 Wolds title
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) is obviously ecstatic with her 2006 Worlds win

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) is obviously ecstatic with her 2006 Worlds win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) celebrates her first senior Worlds title in 2006

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) celebrates her first senior Worlds title in 2006
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Trixi Worrack (Germany), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) make up the 2006 Worlds podium

Trixi Worrack (Germany), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) make up the 2006 Worlds podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marianne Vos (Netherlands) wins the the 2006 Worlds. She finished runner-up for the next five years before claiming a second rainbow jersey in 2012

Marianne Vos (Netherlands) wins the the 2006 Worlds. She finished runner-up for the next five years before claiming a second rainbow jersey in 2012
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) adds the 2006 Worlds title to his 2004 Olympic gold medal

Paolo Bettini (Italy) adds the 2006 Worlds title to his 2004 Olympic gold medal
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (left) and Eric Zabel (Germany) give Paolo Bettini (Italy) a lift on the 2006 podium

Alejandro Valverde (left) and Eric Zabel (Germany) give Paolo Bettini (Italy) a lift on the 2006 podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) is pumped to have won the 2006 Worlds

Paolo Bettini (Italy) is pumped to have won the 2006 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Bettini (Italy) celebrates his 2006 Worlds win by lifting his bike over his head as Alejandro Valverde tries to offer his congratulations

Paolo Bettini (Italy) celebrates his 2006 Worlds win by lifting his bike over his head as Alejandro Valverde tries to offer his congratulations
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2006 Worlds podium celebrate Paolo Bettini's (Italy) win

The 2006 Worlds podium celebrate Paolo Bettini's (Italy) win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Luciano André Pagliarini (Barzil) decides just to have fun at the 2006 Worlds

Luciano André Pagliarini (Barzil) decides just to have fun at the 2006 Worlds
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain) has medalled on numerous occasions but is yet to win the coveted rainbow jersey. Here he is in 2006 after finishing third

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) has medalled on numerous occasions but is yet to win the coveted rainbow jersey. Here he is in 2006 after finishing third
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marta Bastianelli (Italy) celebrates her 2007 Worlds triumph

Marta Bastianelli (Italy) celebrates her 2007 Worlds triumph
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marta Bastianelli with fellow Italian Giorgia Bronzini in 2007

Marta Bastianelli with fellow Italian Giorgia Bronzini in 2007
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2008 Worlds podium of Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan (Both Italy) and Matti Breschel (Denmark)

The 2008 Worlds podium of Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan (Both Italy) and Matti Breschel (Denmark)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

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.