World cycling’s very best are meeting in Ponferrada this week for the 2014 UCI Road World Championships and BBC Sport will be screening live coverage of the elite road races and time trials from the north west of Spain.
Riders from all corners of the globe will fight for the honour of wearing the iconic and distinctive world champion’s rainbow jerseys, with 2013 winners such as Marianne Vos, Tony Martin and Rui Costa, plus a host of star names from world cycling, all aiming to win.
A week of top racing begins on Sunday, September 21 with the men’s and women’s team time trials, ending the following Sunday, September 28 with the men’s elite road race over a distance of 254.8km.
Last held in Spain back in 2005, when the capital Madrid hosted the events, the UCI Road World Championships visits Ponferrada for the first time, with its courses for the time trials and road races having been carefully chosen to inspire exciting racing and highlight the ability and skills of the best riders in the world.
The time trials cover various distances on loops to the west and north of the city, with the elite women covering a distance of 29.50km, while the men will ride 47.10km, including the Confederacion and Mirador climbs that are covered in the road race events.
At the weekend, the road races take centre stage as the 18.2km long circuit is covered seven times by the women and 14 times by the men, with each lap beginning in the ancient centre of Ponferrada before the gradual 3km climb to Confederacion, then a descent follows quickly before the shorter but steeper climb to Mirador.
At the summit, the finish is just over two kilometres away, with a descent and then flat road bringing the riders back towards Ponferrada. A right turn with 500 metres remaining, is the final obstacle before the finish line.
Many of the leading favourites have already seen the road race course but opinion is divided if suits sprinters who are able to survive on the climbs or attacking riders who will use the two climbs per lap to break away.
The men’s road race will include over 4000m of climbing, more than in Florence at the 2013 Road World Championships and similar to that of some of the hardest one-day Classics in the world tour calendar.
Aside from the absence of Mark Cavendish, all of Great Britain’s biggest cycling stars will be in action in Ponferrada, with David Millar captaining the men’s road team for the final time of his career in what will be his last ever race as a professional.
The Scot leading a nine-strong team which includes Tour de France winner Chris Froome, as well as current British champion Pete Kennaugh.
British time trial champion Sir Bradley Wiggins will contest the time trial event, as will Commonwealth gold medallist Alex Dowsett.
In the women’s road race, Lizzie Armitstead will lead a team of six riders which also includes two-time junior world champion Lucy Garner.
Great Britain’s elite riders and their rivals from around the world are aiming to pull on the famous rainbow jersey but only one rider in each event will do it and be crowned UCI World Champion for 2014.
BBC Sport will be the only place to see all the main action unfold this year as its screens exclusive coverage of the elite time trials and road races from Ponferrada.
Starting with the women’s individual time trial on Sunday, September 23, live on BBC Red Button from 1.25pm, the BBC will also screen the men’s time trial live the following day, also on the Red Button.
As in 2013, there is full coverage of both the men’s and women’s road races, which will be shown live over the weekend across BBC One and BBC Two, with the start of both races via the BBC Red Button.
Jonathan Edwards presents BBC TV’s extensive coverage. Commentary comes from Simon Brotherton, Rob Hayles and Rochelle Gilmore, while trackside reports and interviews will be conducted by Jill Douglas.
All of BBC TV’s coverage, as well as additional live action, will be streamed on the BBC Sport website and selected connected TVs, mobiles and tablet devices, plus there will be live radio commentary and regular updates on BBC 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra.
.Tuesday 23rd September Women’s Individual Time Trial LIVE: 1.25pm-4.05pm BBC Red Button Wednesday 24th September Men’s Individual Time Trial LIVE: 12.25pm-4.20pm BBC Red Button Saturday 28th September Women’s Road Race LIVE: 12.55pm-2.30pm BBC Red Button LIVE: 2.00pm-4.00pm BBC One / 4.00pm-5.15pm BBC Two Sunday 29th September Men’s Road Race LIVE: 9.00am-2.00pm BBC Red Button / 1.20pm-4.00pm BBC Two