Costa: ‘I spent the winter with a lot of concentration, working to be in good shape’
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Costa: ‘I spent the winter with a lot of concentration, working to be in good shape’

by VeloNation Press at 12:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Portuguese rider keen to impress in rainbow jersey

Rui CostaWorld road race champion Rui Costa is set to make his debut with his new Lampre Merida team in three days time, lining out in the first edition of the Dubai Tour.

The Portuguese rider moved to the squad from Movistar and said that he has worked hard to be ready for his year in the rainbow jersey.

“As a world champion, I'm glad to start the season in a race that expands the boundaries of our international sport,” he said. “I spent the winter with a lot of concentration, training and working to be in good shape for the season.”

Costa is aware that many worlds winners have had quieter seasons the following year, with the so-called curse of the rainbow jersey being used to describe a lack of success.

However much of that is attributed to the hectic schedules and extra commitments that the worlds jersey can bring. With that in mind, he said that he has made sure not to get sidetracked.

He’s now looking forward to getting back into competition. “In Dubai I’ll have again the feeling of riding in the middle of the bunch. It will be nice to do it with the new Merida bike and defending the name of my new team.”

He will be joined there by Classic specialist Filippo Pozzato, as well as Niccolò Bonifazio, Davide Cimolai, Luca Dodi, Roberto Ferrari, Nelson Oliveira and Andrea Palini.

Besides Costa, the race will feature a host of top names. World time trial champion Tony Martin will be there alongside his Omega Pharma Quick Step team-mate Mark Cavendish, as well as the 2013 Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), four time stage winner in the 2013 Tour Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano), Tour green jersey Peter Sagan (Cannondale), former world TT champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), 2013 world number one Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp), top US time trialist Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) and former world champ Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team).

In all eleven WorldTour teams will compete, each numbering eight riders. There will also be three UCI Continental Teams, the United Arab Emirates national team and the Dubai Sky Dive team.

Time trial specialists such as Martin, Cancellara and Phinney plus others who have fared well against the clock in the past, such as Hushovd and Sagan, will be fully focussed on the opening stage, a ten kilometre time trial.

That opening leg will be called the Down Town stage, reflecting its setting. Day two runs 122 kilometres, passes some of the best-known sports buildings in Dubai such as the Hippodrome, the Olympic pool, the Al Qudra cycling path, the Autodrome and the Golf Club, and will be called the Sport Stage.

The following day is titles the Nature Stage and is the longest at 162 kilometres. It passes through the desert and finishes in Hatta. The Old Dubai Stage concludes the action on February 8th, again beginning at the Dubai World Trade Centre and passing through the old part of the city.

Along the 124 kilometre race to the finish, the riders will pass the famous Burj Al Arab building and the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest skyscraper in the World at 830 metres high.

The race will be run by the Dubai Sports Council plus RCS Sport, the organisers of the Giro d’Italia, and will feature live HD coverage on a number of channels including Dubai Sports, EuroSport and RAI.



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