The Portuguese rider’s first race since being deposed as world champion offers Rui Costa the perfect opportunity to kickstart the next phase of his career with victory.
Second at the GP de Montreal last month, Costa had – aside from victory at the Tour de Suisse – suffered a season of frustration and near misses.
However, he has proved in the past just how dangerous he can be on undulating terrain – see his two Tour de France stage wins in 2013, for example.
The 27-year-old finished well down the pecking order last time out but had not carried any ambitions of victory – riding instead to show off the rainbow jersey and support then team-mate Alejandro Valverde.
This time out, a revamped course, strong Lampre-Merida backing team and the late climbs such as the Berbenno will offer plenty of opportunities for the Portuguese rider.
He is certainly likely to be in the main group over the big, early climbs and the team are keen to have men to the fore in the latter stages, with Przemyslaw Niemiec, Nelson Oliveira and Matteo Bono also set to play important roles.