Double Tour de France stage winner Costa inks one year deal with Lampre Merida
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Double Tour de France stage winner Costa inks one year deal with Lampre Merida

by VeloNation Press at 6:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Portuguese rider gives much-needed vitality to Italian squad

Rui CostaTwo time Tour de Suisse champion Rui Costa is regarded as one of the most promising riders in the sport and now, after racing as part of the Caisse d’Epargne/Movistar structure since 2009, he is taking the opportunity to head elsewhere and see what he can achieve.

The 26 year old rider has inked a one year deal with the Lampre Merida squad, choosing it after being approached by several teams.

He won a stage in the 2011 Tour de France and this year added two more to that, hitting the line first at Gap and Le Grand-Bornand.

“In the past years I have made steady improvement that allowed me to get amazing victories,” he said, talking about his reasons for the move. “I think it’s now time for me, in this moment of my career, to aim at an even more important target: fighting for a top result in the classification of a stages race such Tour de France.

“I think Lampre-Merida could be the best framework for me to try to achieve this goal. I’m sure I made the best choice.”

Costa is a strong climber and a solid time trialist, as evidenced by his two Tour de Suisse victories. He’s also taken the Portuguese time trial championship, the Klasika Primavera, the WorldTour single day Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, and was third overall in this year’s Tour de Romandie.

Giuseppe Saronni, the team’s general manager, recognises Costa’s potential and what he should bring to the team. “We welcome in our group a great rider, an athlete that gives excitement to millions of cycling fans via his amazing victories in Tour de France. Rui Costa is a proud member of the top cyclists’ group of the world: we understood he could have been the best athlete to give prestige to our team project and we’re more than happy he chose to join our team.”

The Lampre-Merida squad is in a period of transition. Michele Scarponi is thought to be heading to a new team, Alessandro Petacchi left earlier this year and has gone to Omega Pharma Quick Step, and Damiano Cunego is no longer the force he once was.

In addition, the team was implicated in the Mantova scandal, and several current and past members will face a hearing in December.

Costa’s signing may be the start of major changes for the squad.

Note: Lampre-Merida initially announced the agreement was for two years; this information has been corrected to reflect the fact that it is actually a one year deal.




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