For many cycling disciplines there is are specific world championships. The UCI World Championships are organised and promoted by the International Cycling Union UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) based in Switzerland.
The UCI World Championships in road cycling present the final highlight within the calendar of grand cycling races, following the Vuelta in Spain. The UCI World Championships start approximately mid to end of September in a city or region selected by the UCI and it lasts about 1 week.
The world’s best road cycling athletes are honoured with the rainbow jersey (white with wide rainbow-coloured bands around the chest and arms) which they are entitled to wear for all races until next year’s world championships and which indicates the reigning world champion. The men’s road race at the UCI world championships is the most prestigious cycling race apart from the renowned grand stage races Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.
The UCI World Championships are held in 3 disciplines:
- Road Cycling
For the road race a very demanding round course is determined and depending on its length it is cycled upon several times. Here cyclists enter as individuals competing against each other wearing their national jerseys.
2. Individual Time Trial
The individual time trial as a discipline has not been in existence that long. Also here each cyclist rides on their own and against time.
3. Team Time Trial
A world champion title in the discipline of team time trial is awarded for teams of 6 men or women.
The three disciplines are carried out for elite cyclists (women and men separately), women and men, junior cyclists (women and men), teams, u23 cyclists. The level of difficulty of all courses in the UCI world championships is adjusted accordingly.
Other traditional and very spectacular world championships are the:
- Track cycling world championships
- Mountainbike world championships (for each MTB Marathon and Four Cross)
- BMX world championships
- Cyclocross world championchips
For road and track world championships paracycling competitions for disabled cyclists are carried out. All world championships are spread around the year and take place in different cities/regions.