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La Vuelta

Triumph of Rui Costa: “The team always believed in me”

This Sunday 10th of September, Rui Costa won the fifteenth stage of La Vuelta thanks to a tactically perfect race in the breakaway, at the end of a hilly 150 kilometer stage towards Lekunberri in the Basque Country.

The riders had to cover the Puerto de Lizarraga halfway through the race and then twice the Puerto de Zuarrarrate (6.3km at 5.1%), with the finish judged after the descent.

Former world champion Rui Costa, who was already part of the breakaway in three different stages in this Vuelta, was one of the first riders to attack alongside Remco Evenepoel, forming a group of ten riders with 90 kilometer to go.

In this group with an advantage of 3 minutes, Costa anticipated the second climb of the Puerto de Zuarrarrate, where the battle for the stage win really started, and isolated himself with Santiago Buitrago and Lennard Kämna.

The Portuguese rider managed his effort on the final climb and downhill with intelligence, to win the stage in a three men sprint. He offered Intermarché-Circus-Wanty a third victory in the Tour of Spain in three participations, after the ones of Louis Meintjes (2022) and Rein Taaramäe (2021).  

With his fourth victory of the season, the 36 year old rider won the first stage of his career in La Vuelta, ten years after his last success in a Grand Tour in the Tour de France 2013.

"Intermarché-Circus-Wanty believed in me from the first day. That's what enabled me to shine immediately in the beginning of the season and to capitalise my good form in the spring. Later in the season, things didn't go as I hoped for. For example in the Tour de France, but with my good result in the Clásica San Sebastián I showed that, like the team, I wouldn't just sit there and give up. When the sports direction proposed me to chase a stage victory in the Tour of Spain I didn't hesitate. I invested a lot in my preparation to maintain my level. After several breakaway attempts in this Vuelta I finally succeeded today. This victory is extremely important for me and for the team. Huge efforts are made behind the scenes, which is not seen by everybody. It is a reward for all this hard work. This victory will bring the whole team a lot of satisfaction, we deserve it!"

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