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Varese Worlds course worthy of championship

The Mapei Cycling Stadium provides the start and finish of all six events.

The Mapei Cycling Stadium provides the start and finish of all six events. (Image credit: Gregor Brown)

The World Championships returns to Varese 57 years after Ferdi Kubler's win over Italian Fiorenzo Magni. It is a challenging parcours that will suit the likes of Samuel Sánchez, Phillip Gilbert and defending champion Paolo Bettini as Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown discovered during a mid-September day.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed the return of the worlds to Varese three years ago in Madrid. The governing body bestowed the hosting honor for the rainbow jersey on the Lombarda città over its southern Toscana rival, Lucca, and The Netherlands' Valkenburg. It is only four years after Italy last hosted the Worlds in 2004 at Verona and five years earlier in the same location, but if any country can get behind the event it is the land of Luciano Pavarotti and Enzo Ferrari.

Italy boasts over 18 World Champions on the road, with the last two coming from Bettini. The passion for the sport is so present in the blood of this cycling rich country that Varese has changed its ordinary Le Bettole horse track into the Mapei Cycling Stadium, the host of the start and finish off all six of this year's world title events.

Tom Boonen powered his way to the worlds win three days after the UCI's announcement in 2005. The Madrid parcours suited his 'built for speed' body type, but we learned that this won't be the case for the Varese parcours. It has 237 metres of climbing over the 17.35 kilometres course, with the men facing 3555 metres of climbing over their 15 laps.

The Montello climb greets the riders right after the gun is fired and the start of each circuit. Starting up after just 500 metres of racing this short and steep kilometre-long climb will provide an opportunity for selection as the laps count down. Villa Bernocchi, on the left, starts the climb and Scoula Europea ends it, but in between there are pitches of 10 percent. The climb, last used in the Giro d'Italia's stage 18, is still marked with the name of 2007 Italian champion Giovanni Visconti.

The Montello is a prime spot for an opportunist to form a move and add time on the dive down to Santuario di Sant'Antonio. The gradual descent passes the 15km to go marker before a sharp left. After, it levels out with the first views of Lago di Varese to the right side.

Continue to the full feature.

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