Sparkling winner of UCI World Tour event in Montréal leads Portuguese national team chances in his second elite appearance in the Worlds, riding both races with some of his Movistar Team teammates at RR and ITT
With his moral over the moon after a splendid victory in last Sunday’s Grand Prix de Montréal, Portuguese rider Rui Costa departs on Saturday for Danish lands. The Iberian powerhouse from Movistar Team will ride both the ITT (Wednesday) and the RR (Sunday) in the upcoming Copenhagen Worlds, and will try to profit from his great fitness level shown in previous competitions. With a stage victory in the Tour de France, his win in Canada and the overall success in the Vuelta a Madrid back in May already into his account, Costa has already accomplished any goals for his return into cycling’s top tier, and will be riding his seventh Worlds at the age of 24 after two junio appearances, three years as U23 and his sole cap as elite rider in 2009.
The Worlds are, above all, the race in the season where you want the most to be on top form. It’s the day when you wear the colors of your nation and that means a lot, because it makes you dignify your country and leave everything you have inside on the road. After my victory in Canada, I’ve shown I’m strong, and I hope to complete a very good season for me since I joined the team back in the April classics. The Worlds are raced like a classic, but it’s difference since the teams with more riders at the start have an advantage to control the race.
I didn’t prepare the Worlds specifically. Except for the previous year, I was almost into all Worlds since I was at junior stage, and already before the Tour I told the national coach that, were I in good form, I would like to come there. I’m racing the ITT more like a preparation for the RR on Sunday. The advantage of racing into a ProTeam is that you ride into long, hard races, like the ones I went through in previous weeks: Plouay, Québec or Montréal. Getting your body prepared with routes and rivals very similar to the ones you’ll find in the World Championships is the best warm-up you can get.
I feel really good as I proved with my triumph in Canada and in very good spirits, but it’s obvious that the route isn’t the most adequate for me. I don’t real any particular goals on myself: we’ll see how the race goes and if I might get an advantage from splits forming up in the finale. I don’t have any objectives for the ITT either, but I love time trials and I think it’s important for me to keep progressing in that matter in the future.
I don’t know the route, but from what I could see, the ITT route is rather flat. The RR route also seems to be quite easy, with a slope at the finish. I don’t know it, but with so many laps we’ll be doing, I’m sure I’ll get to know it perfectly… It’s clear that a more selective route, with some climbs, would have suited me better, because it would be getting many more riders out of contention. Despite all of it, the long distance might be a key and make the race harder in the finale. My chance stands on the final two laps, with cuts surely to form I should be getting in.
For the time trial: Tony Martin, Cancellara and Wiggins. The win should be within those three. For the RR: I think it’s far more open because sort of everything could happen. Riders like Hushovd or Boasson Hagen will surely be there, and of course Gilbert, because if he chose to be there, it’s obviously to do something remarkable.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS APPEARANCES
2009: elite (67th RR)
2008: U23 (8th ITT, 5th RR)
2007: U23 (26th ITT, 15th RR)
2006: U23 (15th RR)
2004: junior (67th RR)
2003: junior (54th RR)