Rui Costa voted Portuguese athlete of the year

Rui Costa has been voted the male athlete of the year in Portugal after winning the world road race title in Tuscany, the Tour of Switzerland and two stages at the Tour de France in 2013.

Costa has also been also awarded the Sócio de Mérito – a prestigious form of membership, by the Portuguese Cycling Federation, as he was feted for his success and breakthrough victory in Florence.

Costa beat football player Cristiano Ronaldo and canoeist Fernando Pimenta, to take the athlete of the year award for a second consecutive year.

"This is easier to win than climbing the Alps! I have to thank everyone who voted for me. I'm happy to be the winner,” Costa told

“Any of the nominees could have won because we all competed well and fought hard throughout the season, but I was lucky and I'm happy. Every athlete does a lot for Portugal and I’m sure we’ll continue to give our best for our country next year.”

"After the year I’ve had, it’s great being honoured where I learned how to race and grew up. I'm very happy to be honour by the Portuguese Cycling Federation. The federation has always helped me and I am grateful to them for everything they have done throughout my career.”

Costa collected the awards wearing a dapper brown suede suit but will soon begin training for the 2014 season, swapping his blue Movistar kit for the brighter pink and blue colours of Lampre-Merida.

He has already confirmed that his major goal will be the Tour de France but will lead Lampre-Merida in the Ardennes Classics.

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