Dubai: UAE Team Emirates’ rider Rui Costa put in a brave performance to power himself to second place on the final stage and move into third in the General Classification at the Tour du Limousin.
In an impressive display of teamwork and with 30km to go, the whole UAE team took to the front as the gap to the break stood at just over a minute.
The gap was quickly eroded and despite a puncture with 26km left to the line, Costa quickly got back to the pack with the help of his teammates and was delivered to the final climb perfectly.
Costa, who was just four seconds away from overall victory, put in a punishing attack with 10km to go with just the eventual stage winner, Alessandro Fideli (Nippo-Delko) able to follow the Portuguese champion as Luca Wackermann of the Vini Zabu-KTM team held on to seal overall victory.
The result tops off a successful week for UAE Team Emirates that saw stage wins for both Fernando Gaviria and Jasper Philipsen bringing the season tally up to 18 wins.
“The team can be very happy with this week with two stage wins, and today I came very close to victory myself. My goal was the General Classification, so I emptied myself on until the line. The rider with me was focused only on the stage win so we both had our own objectives,” Costa said.
“The point where I made my move the team set me up perfectly. I had a puncture with the last few kilometres left, and had to put in an effort. But Fernando stopped with me and I managed to get back on quickly. I would have liked the overall victory, but can be satisfied with the podium. Now I’ll head for the European Championships aiming for another result.”
Best known for winning the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Tuscany, Italy — the first Portuguese to do so — Costa went on to win three stages of the Tour de France in 2011 and 2013 along with three editions of the Tour de Suisse (in 2012, 2013 and 2014) while becoming the first cyclist to win the event for three consecutive years.
Sports Director Neil Stephens was also pleased with the team’s pickings for the week. “It’s been a great week. We bounced back after a difficult first day to get a win with Gaviria, then we followed that up on Stage 3 with Jasper. Unfortunately, Rui Costa just missed out on the overall win, but he put in a brave ride and managed to nab a spot on the podium,” Stephens said.
“I’m really proud of the competitive spirit. Wins are wins but we don’t get anywhere without the team spirit and all binding together, so we’re very proud of the guys this week,” he added.
1. Alessandro Fideli (Nippo-Delko) 4:02:00
2. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) same time
3. Joel Suter (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) +5s
1. Luca Wackermann (Vini-Zabu) 17:22:11
2. Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) +2s
3. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) +4s