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Gallery: Men's World Championship road races through the years

The elite men's road race has been part of the cycling calendar since 1927 when Italian Alfredo Binda took the first of three World Championship titles on the Nürburgring. It was an all-Italian podium on that day with Constante Girardengo and Domenico Piemontesi completing the first three spots.

Only two other riders have matched Binda and taken the rainbow jersey for a third time: Rik Van Steenbergen in 1957 and Oscar Freire in 2004. Belgium and Italy have dominated the top step since the inception of the Worlds with the former taking 26 gold medals, seven more than Italy. Third placed France are well behind on eight.

With six medals to his name, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde has the most of any individual and more than most nations, yet he has never worn the rainbow jersey.

Michal Kwiatkowski made history as the first Polish champion and he is looking to add himself to another record by becoming only the sixth cyclist to defend his title.

Flick through our gallery above for a look back at World Championship road races through the years and click here to see our retrospective of the women's world championship road race. 

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