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Rui Costa, focusing on Il Lombardia, is already planning for 2024

The Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa transferred this season from UAE Team Emirates to the Belgian team Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and practically experienced a rebirth in cycling, securing four victories and culminating the season with a win in the Vuelta a España. Currently the 2013 World Champion is training at altitude to close out the year with a series of Italian Classics, culminating in Il Lombardia (October 7).

“Ever since I found out I was going to join Intermarché, I felt motivated. It was a new team, different equipment… In essence, we’re like children; when everything is new, motivation is higher. It has been a wonderful year. Important for me to rediscover myself; I missed knowing what it was like to win, that excitement of being in breakaways,” he said in an interview with the Portuguese newspaper “O Jogo.”

Season Recap for 2023:

“The first phase of the season was excellent, up until the Strade Bianchi, which I finished in fourth place. The second phase was not the best. I was preparing for the classics, and during the altitude training camp, I fell ill twice in a row. I could hardly train. When I resumed, I was descending the Serra Nevada, and the front wheel slipped, causing me to crash and get injured quite badly.” rui costa com foco no il lombardia ja projeta 2024 image

“Next, I had the Basque Country, but I wasn’t in good shape. In the classics, I only felt better at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but then came Romandie and an accident right in the prologue, where I hit my knee on the bike. I lost several weeks of training. I even did 15 days of altitude, which wasn’t enough to regain top form. In the Tour de Suisse, I seemed to be improving again, but the circumstances of that race… Losing Gino [Mader] was a very painful moment.

I didn’t reach the Tour in the best condition, and perhaps that’s why I felt my form growing afterward. I felt better in San Sebastian. I had never finished in the top 10, and that led me to consider the Vuelta a España. I talked to the team management, and they gave me the green light. It was the best option.

Goals for 2024:

“I have a dream, which is to return to the Olympics. The best preparation for that will be to compete in the Tour de France. My goal lies there, and to also participate in the Vuelta a España, which starts in Portugal. For me, it will be a dream come true: being in a World Tour team, racing a Grand Tour, and starting in my own country combines the three essential elements. I’ve always wanted to race a Grand Tour in Portugal. So I hope to be there,” concluded the Portuguese rider, who, if in good form, is undoubtedly a good option for the Paris Olympics.”

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