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World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) resplendent in the rainbow jersey
World champion adjusting to life in the rainbow jersey
As Rui Costa prepares for the 2014 Paris-Nice, his Lampre Merida team have published the first of two interviews on their website with the Portuguese world champion as he won't be conducting face-to-face interviews during the race.
While Costa has so far notched tree second places he explained on the Lampre-Merida webpage that he always looking to the future and thinking about new goals
"I always think that the best moment will happen in the future ... if we work hard and we have good health. When I think about the past, it is obvious that I achieved nice victories. But I never like to think that it is enough," Costa said. "I had good moments ... but I am sure that the future will be better."
As a rider who generally only gets to stand atop the winnners podium later in the year, Costa's first win in 2012 was in June while last year it was in April, the Portuguese national time trial champion is building his form for the Tour de France and isn't concerned about a lack of victories so far this year.
"I normally start the seasons in good shape but my victories and my best shape are always in the summer. Anyhow, I want to win races as soon as possible. In Algarve, for example, I was there times second and against big riders as [Michal] Kwiatkowski or [Alberto] Contador [but] my goals are more in March and April than February."
Having left Movistar for a one-year deal at Lampre, Costa explained how he is settling in with the new team and how his Italian lessons are progressing.
"When I had to decide my future, in the summer of 2013, I signed for Lampre for several things. One of them was the culture. It is easy for me to learn Italian language and to speak with team directors, mechanics, masseurs, teammates.
"After two months, there are no problems for the adaptation and we can say that I am integrated inside the team. Everything is going well and all is working really good."
In 2011 on Stage 8 of the Tour de France, Costa made it into the breakaway and on the climb up the Super Besse ski station he rode away from his companions to claim his debut grant our stage win. Costa then added the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal to his palmarès to mark his name down as one to watch.
With victory in the world championships last year, Costa's name has been elevated to the top-tier of professional cycling and he is leaning to manage to the increased coverage and pressure that comes with wearing the coveted rainbow jersey.
"It is not easy. But I have a strong team around me to organise my schedule. Also, I have no doubts about my goals. And the priority is always the sportive point of view."
As a rider who enjoys talking to fans, Costa explained that it is not always possible to stop for a chat.
"I am so sorry because I am sure that sometimes I cannot answering to people who want to meet me, do interviews… It is truth that we have to be as close as possible with journalists and fans.
"I need time to train and time to relax after the hardest training sessions. And I never forget that I have to honour the rainbow jersey. And it is not possible without a lot of train."