Speaking to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 4 of the Vuelta a San Juan on Thursday, Rui Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi) outlined his impatience to rediscover the sweet taste of victory, after 2016 went down as the first barren campaign of his career. Less than 24 hours later he was clenching his fist and letting out a guttural roar of celebration as he took the spoils atop the Alto de Colorado.
The Portuguese rider has been consistently strong since winning the World Championships in 2013, but has been unable to replicate the Midas touch he showed over the course of that campaign.
"I believe I deserve this victory, because I’ve been searching for one for a long time," said Costa in his post-race press conference.
"It’s always a good feeling. Being up there in the GC, fighting every day, getting second or third places is one thing, but winning is something else. To win again, this early stage in the season, it calms me down."