World champion Rui Costa will lead Lampre-Merida in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, which starts next Monday.
The 2013 world champion has just returned from a stint of altiitude training and is still looking for his first win since claiming the world title in Italy last year. He moved to Lampre from Movistar at the start of this season and has picked up six second places, including second overall in last month’s Paris-Nice.
He will also be looking to use the Vuelta al Pais Vasco as a warm-up for the Ardennes Classics before targeting his main objective, the overall in the Tour de France this July.
“The selection for Vuelta al Pais Vasco is very competitive: it's a World Tour appointment and this means that it will be important to score some points, not forgetting that this race is also an interesting passage towards Ardenne classics,” said team manager Brent Copeland.
“Rui Costa has shown in the first part of the season that he always approach the races with a competitive spirit, this is
very good for the team, that will also rely on Cunego, who's in good condition and is willing to repeat the amazing performances he realized in Vuelta al Pais Vasco in the past.”
Joining Rui Costa on the startline will be Damiano Cunego, Jose Serpa, Kristijan Durasek, Jan Polanc, Nelson Oliveira and Chinese Xu Gang, who will be making his WorldTour debut.