Rui Costa never betrays and each time he’s at the start of a race, there’s the certainty that he’ll fight for being protagonist.
This happened in Amstel Gold Race too, where the Portuguese rider obtained the 4th place, preceded in the final sprint by Kwiatkowski (1st), Valverde (2nd) and Matthews (3rd): photo Bettini.
The race was lead after 30 km by a six cyclists breakaway: in LAMPRE-MERIDA line-up there were Bono and Polanc, two very reliable attackers, so it was simple for the sport directors Mauduit and Pedrazzini to have one rider in the main breakaway and this time the blue-fuchsia-green attacker was Polanc, who managed to lead the race for 200 km (the breakaway was neutralized at 25 km to go.
A large group approached the final passage on the Cauberg, Gilbert attacked and he selected a 18 riders group in which there was Rui Costa too, who managed to be very close to the podium.
“Today my feelings were good and, thanks to my team mates, I managed to drive my Merida bike in a competitive way on the winding roads of the Amstel Gold Race – Rui Costa explained – I only had a problem in the approach of the Eyserbosweg, at 40 km to go, when two riders that were preceding me crashed and I could avoid the first one, but not the second one. I did not suffer consequences and so I managed to come back to the bunch and be in the head position in view of the final kilometers.
The group was still counting many riders and Gilbert’s action was good but not enough for allowing him to win, so the chasing group in which I was pedaling could join him.
I was still having energies for the sprint, but I was very close to the fences so I must brake and this hesitation made me missing the best moment to start the sprint and the possibility to be on the podium.
Anyway, the fourth place is a very good result, also taking into consideration the value of the opponents, and a good start for this important week“.
1- Kwiatkowski 6h31’49”
2- Valverde s.t.
3- Matthews s.t.
4- Rui Costa s.t.
49- Ulissi 52″, 53- Valls s.t., 101- Durasek 6’47”, 103- Polanc s.t., 109- Mori s.t., Bono dnf, Conti dnf.