Rui Costa, who won the race in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and finished fifth in 2017, said he has had to withdraw from the UAE-Team Emirates line-up for the nine-day race because of a knee injury.
“We have decided not to race because my knee is still not back to normal,” Costa said on his Twitter feed. “Suisse is such a tough race it could have affected my recovery program. I wanted to race, but it could have affected my following race: the Tour.”
Team sports director Joxean Fernandez Matxin confirmed Costa’s absence from the Tour de Suisse, telling Cyclingnews, “As a former three-time winner, Rui felt it wouldn’t be right to go there simply to make up the numbers. He’s recovering but if he’s not at 100 percent, then it didn’t make sense for him to go.” He also said that Costa remained on the team’s long list of riders for the Tour de France.
It remains unclear whether this is the same knee injury that saw Rui Costa pull out of Paris-Nice in March after crashing on the first stage or whether he has had further injuries since then. Following a lowkey performance in the Ardennes Classics, Costa’s last event was the Tour de Romandie, where he rode strongly to place 5th overall.
The 2013 world champion’s place in the UAE-Team Emirates line-up at the Tour de Suisse will be taken by Roberto Ferrari. The Italian fast man is likely to take on a support role for team-mate Alexander Kristoff, who recently showed excellent form with a bunch sprint victory in the GP Gippingen, the one-day Classic that acts as a warm-up race for the Tour de Suisse.
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