Rui Costa sets sights on fourth podium at Tour de Romandie
UAE Team Emirates’ Rui Costa has set his sights on a fourth podium finish at this year’s Tour de Romandie which gets underway tomorrow
The Portuguese rider is looking forward to racing after a series of strong performances in the Ardennes Classics. He's podiumed in third place at the Swiss race in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Commenting ahead of the race the 31-year-old. said: “I’m looking forward to Romandie and it’s allowed me to get on the podium three times. Usually after Liege-Bastogne-Liege, my general condition is good, which gives me the confidence to battle for the overall victory as well as trying to win a stage. I hope that’s the case again this year.”
Team mate Dan Martin also return, last riding in 2015 where he finished 104th.
The duo head to Switzerland from Belgium, fresh off the back of Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday – a race in which UAE Team Emirates performed effectively, controlling the peloton for long sections of the 256km route.
The race was eventually won by Bob Jungels (Quick Step), who produced yet another surprise victory to take top spot ahead of Michael Woods (Team EF) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale).
Unfortunately luck was not on the side of Irishman Martin, who suffered a puncture whilst chasing down the breakaway with a select group of riders.
The misfortune happened with only 8kms to go, preventing the team’s leader from closing the gap and contending another podium finish at the biggest monument of the season.
The 31-year-old said to the press: “I’ve punctured in the worst of moments and when I saw my front wheel was completely flat, I could not believe it. Now I hope to profit from my hard work at the Tour of Romandie.I’m going back again after last participating in 2015, so I know I’ll face a particularly demanding edition of the Swiss race. There’s not going to be one simple stage and it’ll be interesting to see how they’ve routed the two time trials."
Martin and Costa will be joined in Switzerland by top Colombian climber Darwin Atapuma, Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Anass Ait El Abdia and Matteo Bono.
Tuesday’s first stage is an opening 4 km time trial.