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Rui Costa targets top ten finish at Tour de France

Cycling News
January 5, 11:14,
January 5, 11:15
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 5, 2014
Rui Costa gets ready to go out on track

Rui Costa gets ready to go out on track

  • Rui Costa gets ready to go out on track
  • The new world champion, Rui Costa (Portugal) was moved to tears on the podium of the worlds

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World champion to explore possibilities in grand tours

World champion Rui Costa will target a top ten finish at the Tour de France in 2014 as he makes the step up to a leadership role at his new team Lampre-Merida. He joins the squad on a one-year deal from Movistar, where he had spent five seasons.

The Portuguese rider is pencilled in to lead the Lampre-Merida’s overall challenge at the Tour, a race in which the team has struggled to make an impact over the past two years. Rui Costa has shown his stage racing pedigree by winning the Tour de Suisse in 2012 and 2013, but he acknowledged that a three-week race is a very different matter.

“One day, I have to assume the role of leader and test my limits in a three-week race,” Rui Costa told Eurosport Portugal of the Tour. “The objective is to be in the top 10, see how my body works and see if I’m cut out for a race of 21 days like the Tour.”

Costa has ridden the Tour de France on five occasions during his career, with a best overall placing of 18th in 2012. Last year, he was forced to sacrifice his overall ambitions and wait for teammate Alejandro Valverde when he suffered mechanical problems on stage 13. He went on to reach Paris in 27th place overall, albeit with the considerable consolation of two stage victories.

Like all world champions, Costa will be keen to mark his tenure in the rainbow jersey with an early victory, although he pointed out that the Ardennes classics – and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in particular – would be his principal target in the opening months of the season.

“I like to be good in every race. Of course, Paris-Nice and the Ardennes classics are no exception, and above all, Liège is a classic I’ve always dreamt about,” Costa said. “I always set off without pressure, with the intention of giving my best. If I can get on the podium, so much the better, but if I don’t win, the important thing is to have a clear conscience and know that you’ve done all you can.”

Costa, who resumed full training in mid-November, will begin his 2014 season at the inaugural Dubai Tour (February 5-8), and he confirmed that his fellow countryman and new Lampre arrival Nelson Oliveira is likely to share the same race programme as him for the majority of the campaign.

“We’re still defining the group that will be with me at every race, but I have confirmation that Nelson will be with me,” Rui Costa said.

Diogo Gonçalves 9 months ago
most down-to-earth guy in the peloton...i'm sure he will accomplish what he is proposing to do! THE BEAST
vassosa 9 months ago
He has yet to prove, i think, to be good on HC mountains.
Diogo Gonçalves 8 months ago
I'm sure that this will be his main point of attention when it comes to training objectives! Before this year he always knew he wasn't going to the tour as a possible team leader and i'm sure this affects his way of preparing himself. And second.... the help he is supposed to get this year by his team mates (which i believe, can be a very helpfull support, comming from lampre), will make a big difference since his good results always came from his efforts alone until now, also while having to work hard for Valverde!
TShame 9 months ago
Not while wearing "The Curse" shirt.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Top10 at Tour? Very unlikely He is the type of rider who is good on classics and can handle 1 week races. but in all honestly i dont think he will ever make top 10 in the Tour. Maybe in the Giro but in the Tour there are many GC riders than him. Here's the list of riders that in think will end up higher than in on GC: Froome, Nibali, Contador, Kreuziger, Valverde, Uran, JVDB, Betancur, TVG, Mollema and Talansky. And he is out of top 10... I think he would be much better of focusing on the Vuelta, he his more likely to make good result and is also good prepartion for the Worlds.
Chromking 9 months ago
Very likely, I would say. The first five are going to be hard to beat, but he's pretty much equal to the rest. Talansky and JVDB are good, but not specular. And TVG and Mollema are often fragile. Bentancur is really impressive in the mountains, but he can't TT. Uran is better too, but I think he does the Giro/Vuelta double.
vassosa 9 months ago
Rui Costa is yet to prove, i think, to be good on HC mountains
ttta asa 9 months ago
Betancur can't TT so what? He can easily gain more than enough in the mountain to make up for a bad TT. And i agree with the rest of the list. These riders already proved themself while Costa hasn't. You can argue maybe for Talansky but i can see making a good result next year since he has been improving very fast over the years.
Cance > TheRest 9 months ago
Not against guys like Costa. The way I see it, Betancur is very good and explosive on smaller climbs, but if PorteBorg is going to do the same work he did last year on some climbs, Betancur will most likely be dropped and not gain any time at all on proven class riders like JVDB and Talansky. He is not the kind of rider who likes a hard steady tempo, but prefers accelerations. Rui Costa should be in top 10 when the tour is over, even if he hasn't proven himself as a GT rider and with as much pressure as it is to be the GT leader. What favours Costa IMO, is that he's a WINNER, unlike JVDB and Talansky. That said, its going to be exciting following him next year in the Tour
Dan Vella 9 months ago
This is about right - he was stronger than Valverde at the tour this year, looking forward to seeing this play out. Really impressed me so far. I would add Kwiatowski to the mix.
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
Valverde would've made the podium, had he not lost so much time on the echelon stage, so no! Costa was in no way at the level of Valverde in 2013 TdF. Also Kwiatkowski is a big talent, but he really needs to focus on his climbing in the next season, since he lacks quite a bit compared to JVDB, Costa, Talansky, Uran and other serious top 10 contenders.
TheBean 9 months ago
The appearance money he will get for the TdF is enough to justify his participation and focus. It sounds like he is going to race without enormous expectations, sop he can follow wheels and do his best to limit damages on the biggest climbs.
andrew1991 9 months ago
Maybe in the Giro? The Giro is tougher than the Tour (when it comes to mountains). Do not forget that before Valverde's mechanical problem he was in the top ten (8th I think). I think he is perfect for the Vuelta. He would focus on the Ardennes Classics, rest a lot and come back in Tour de Pologne and prepare for the Vuelta and Worlds.
TheStaz 9 months ago
Valverde was in fact in second at the time.
Singer01 8 months ago
i think he was talking about costa, who was 9th before the stage where valverde had his mechanical.
Broth3r 9 months ago
A lot of articles at Eurosport Portugal are just plain ripped off CN, now we see an interview from there here. The cycle (ha) of life.
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cyclingfan001 9 months ago
Top ten is a realistic goal for Rui Costa. I the best scenario even top five is possible.
andrew1991 9 months ago
I agree. With some luck (no falls, flats like he what happened during his first tour) and a good teammate supporting him until the last 10-7kms and he should do just fine.
PJK1972 9 months ago
So maybe he'll finish in the 11-20th bracket, which is his level. That said you don't set a target of top 20 if you've already proven your good enough for that. You set yourself improvement goals in life which is what Rui has done here. If he does top 10 this year then maybe set top 5 the year after. I don't know why people on here have to slag of Rui for setting acheivable targets, even if they are a little loftier than his past results.
TheBean 9 months ago
Well said, PJK. Some posters here like to slam anything and everything anyone says - except for their favorites. For the World Champ - also a two-time TdS winner - to state a top10 as his goal is perfectly reasonable. In the article, Rui is open about the fact that he isn't sure how his body will hold up to three weeks of racing as a team leader, but there is only one way to find out.
andrew1991 9 months ago
I agree with you. But, as a portuguese, I just want to see a portuguese rider fighting with the best, so its normal that some of us are very hopeful for 2014's Tour. 2 seasons ago he finished 18th without any help, only Karpets(I think) helped him, all the other were supporting Cobo and Valverde. So with the last seasons experience and motivation he might be able to surprise us and do well in the Tour.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I've decided since I finished in the top 20 of the tour twice that i will shoot for a top 20. No need to push myself and let the folks at cycling news forum get proven wrong by trying to get any better. Thankfully I try to listen to what couch potato losers at cycling news forum predict.
ttta asa 8 months ago
He only finished inside top20 once,18th in 2012...
Anonymous 8 months ago
satire have you read the other posts?