The Men's Individual Road Race of the 2008 UCI Road World Championships cycling event took place on September 28 in Varese, Italy. The course comprised 15 laps around 17.35-kilometre route, making a total distance of 260.25 km. Each lap featured two ascents: the first at Montello (6.5% gradient for 1.15 kilometres); and the second at Ronchi[disambiguation needed] (4.5% for 3.13 kilometres). The highest elevation measured 480 metres (1,570 ft) at Via Montello.
Pre-race favourites included Paolo Bettini, who was trying for an unprecedented third consecutive title, and the 1999, 2001 and 2004 champion Óscar Freire.