At 26-years-old, Portugal’s Rui Costa has come of age. Entering the final few hundred metres of a duel with Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez to decide the world road race championship, Costa made no mistakes, slowing only to observe the briefest of exchanges with ‘Purito’ before comprehensively defeating last year’s world number one in the race for the line.
Success in the world road race championship is far from Costa’s only impressive performance this season, however. He is no arriviste; a chancer who got lucky against a climber on a flat finish. Rather, Costa is an all-rounder in the truest sense, winning the Tour de Suisse for a second consecutive year thanks largely to an impressive final time trial; claiming two stages of the Tour de France in the most impressive manner possible by attacking alone on both occasions, and securing top 10 finishes in four other UCI WorldTour events.
Costa’s predecessor as world road race champion, Philippe Gilbert, endured a largely barren campaign in the rainbow stripes, but retained the support of the cycling public for his unswerving commitment. Costa looks similarly determined.