Tour de Suisse (st. 9)
Portuguese crowned overall winner for the second time in one of the most prestigious stageraces in the WorldTour after brilliant win at Flumserberg’s mountain TT
In the best way possible, leaving no doubts about who was the strongest rider in the race, Rui Costa closed his extraordinary performance in the 2013 Tour de Suisse. The Movistar Team rider won the decisive stage nine, an innovative, 27-kilometer individual time trial, with flat in its opening phase before 10k of hard ascent (9% average) up the Flumserberg. The Portuguese was the most regular in both terrains, and after clocking the 6th best time at the first intermediate point -at the end of the plain route, where he changed his TT bike for a conventional road one-, he kept the pace perfectly high to claim the day’s honours ahead of Mollema, Kangert, Peraud and an amazing Andrey Amador, in progressive fitness throughout the race after a collarbone fracture in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Costa’s stage victory brought together the final triumph, the main goal the Iberian had in mind since ten days ago: notching up back-to-back wins in the overall. The race’s bib nº1 showed again his place within the best riders of the peloton, and already since the second intermediate point, halfway through the climb, went away with a solid margin over his two main rivals, Kreuziger (TST) and Frank (BMC), whom he bested by one and two minutes respectively. Joined into the overall podium by Mollema (BLA) and Kreuziger, Rui Costa celebrated his fourth win of the season -the 19th for Movistar Team in 2013- and his 16th in seven years as pro. The Portuguese will look foward now to shining in the Tour de France, where he took a stage win in 2011 and was the top GC finisher from the Blues (18th) last season.
REACTION / Rui Costa: “We knew that this stage was bound to decide the race, and that’s why I came last week to recon it – it already looked bloody hard to me. Chente also came to inspect it before the start of the race and we had already decided it was needed to change bikes before the climb because it was a long one, an effort longer than half an hour. I rode really focused and keeping an eye on the watts, but as soon as I saw the references were good, I pulled the gas a bit off in the final 3k of flat to breathe a bit before the climb. The bike change was fast and Chente drove me through the climb brilliantly, giving me all references and supprting me all the way to the top. I kept a constant pace because I knew it was crucial to stay on my own rhythm, from the foot to the top of the climb. At the hardest slopes, I already knew the GC was really close as well as the stage, so I went full gas and made the difference. It all went perfectly – I’m super happy.
“Every victory is different, and I got this one in quite a different way than last year’s. Then I grabbed the leader’s jersey too early, and that long week cost me much energy. All those days on the podium, the press conference… that’s two hours off your recovery and that’s crucial. This time, I’m fresher at the end of the race, and got better and better feelings throughout the race. I didn’t have my best day in the first mountain-top finish, but I was able to recover from that initial loss. It wouldn’t have been possible without my team. They were sensational, all week – this victory is dedicated to them, as well as the Portuguese fans, who came here to support me. Now it’s time to think about the Tour. My only goal for the moment is getting through the first week, always so dangerous – we’ll see how we do when it’s over. We’ll be one of the strongest teams in the race and we’re really excited. Before the Tour, I’ll be riding both National champs, the road race and the TT – it will be a good test for me.”