Rui Costa leads charge for UAE Team Emirates at Tour de Romandie

Former road race world champion Rui Costa will lead the UAE Team Emirates squad for the Tour de Romandie, hoping he can repeat – or better – the three third places he's taken at the race.

The Portuguese rider is nothing short of consistent at the Swiss stage race, having finished third overall in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and fifth last year. However, he has never taken a stage win at the race that he says sits in the perfect position for him once the spring Classics are finished.

Despite not finishing last weekend's Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which was held in wet and near-freezing conditions, the 32-year-old says that he's ready for the short, but mainly mountainous, stage race, which is this year bookended by two individual time trials.

"The Tour de Romandie is a race that I've always liked, especially due to its spot on the calendar at the end of the Ardennes Classics," Costa said.

"I've climbed onto the lowest step of the podium three times before, taking advantage of my good form after racing in Belgium and the Netherlands. I hope to take a similar approach again this year, coming out of the Ardennes Classics and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in good shape, despite having suffered in the cold weather on Sunday at La Doyenne.

"Looking at the overall, you have to consider the two time trials this year, which are suited to the specialists. They'll certainly impact the results," added the three-time Tour de France stage winner, who, despite having twice won the Portuguese time trial championships, has only won one other individual time trial – at the 2013 Tour de Suisse.

Costa and 38-year-old Manuele Mori will lead an otherwise young UAE team, which includes 24-year-old Italian sprinter Simone Consonni, who will attempt to be in the mix at the end of the two flatter stages on stage 1 and 2. The team also have 25-year-old time trial specialist Tom Bohli, who can expect plenty of support from the home crowd.

Also racing are defending Romandie champion Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma teammate Steven Kruijswijk, 2015 race winner Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and reigning Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, who'll be riding under the new Team Ineos banner, with the petrochemical company having taken over from Sky as the main sponsor of the British WorldTour team.

UAE Team Emirates for the 2019 Tour de Romandie: Tom Bohli, Simone Consonni, Rui Costa, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi, Aleksandr Riabushenko

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