UAE Team Emirates’ Rui Costa secures third place finish on stage one of Tour de Romandie

David Cooper 26/04/2018
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UAE Team EmiratesRui Costa continued his strong start to the season as he secured another top-10 finish during stage one of the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday.

It was Costa’s seventh such finish this season, having clinched three top-10s at the Tour of Oman in February.

Astana rider Omar Fraile won the first stage on Wednesday as Slovenian Primoz Roglic claimed the overall lead.

Fraile edged out Italian Sonny Colbrelli in a sprint finish at the end of the 166.6km ride to Delemont to continue Astana’s
excellent recent spell with their 14th win of the season.

Australian Michael Matthews, who won Tuesday’s prologue, was dropped on the final climb and lost the yellow jersey to Roglic.

It was a commendable performance nonetheless from Costa, who said: “We raced with the right mentality, according to the indications that the sports directors gave in the pre-race meeting.”

“We controlled the race with Bono and then on the last climb I tried first and then Dan Martin tried, and he created a good gap.

“In the end, the other teams kept it together. I gave it my all and took a good third place.”

Best for UAE Team Emirates were: Kristijan Durasek (29th), Dan Martin (30th), Anass Ait el Abdia (72nd), Darwin Atapuma (75th), Matteo Bono (110th), Roberto Ferrari (128th).
Thursday’s stage sees the peloton tackle a 173.9 km ride from Delemont to Yverdon-les-Bains in West Switzerland.

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UAE Team Emirates' Rui Costa sets sights on fourth podium at Tour de Romandie

David Cooper 23/04/2018
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UAE Team Emirates’ Rui Costa has set his sights firmly on a fourth podium finish in the General Classification at this year’s Tour de Romandie which gets underway on Tuesday.

The Portuguese rider is brimming with confidence after a series of strong performances in the Ardennes Classics and is now hoping to add to his impressive achievements, which already includes third place finishes at the Swiss race in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Commenting ahead of the tour, the 31-year-old. said: “I’m looking forward to Romandie and it’s allowed me to get on the podium three times.

“Usually after Liege-Bastogne-Liege, my general condition is good, which gives me the confidence to battle for the overall victory as well as trying to win a stage. I hope that’s the case again this year.”

Team mate Dan Martin also returns to the Tour de Romandie after last riding the stage race in 2015 where he finished 104th.

The duo head to Switzerland from Belgium, fresh off the back of Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday – a race in which UAE Team Emirates performed effectively, controlling the peloton for long sections of the 256km route.

The race was eventually won by Bob Jungels (Quick Step), who produced yet another surprise victory to take top spot ahead of Michael Woods (Team EF) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale).

Unfortunately luck was not on the side of Irishman Martin, who suffered a puncture whilst chasing down the breakaway with a select group of riders.

The misfortune happened with only 8kms to go, preventing the team’s leader from closing the gap and contending another podium finish at the biggest monument of the season.

The 31-year-old said: “I’ve punctured in the worst of moments and when I saw my front wheel was completely flat, I could not believe it. Now I hope to profit from my hard work at the Tour of Romandie.

“I’m going back again after last participating in 2015, so I know I’ll face a particularly demanding edition of the Swiss race. There’s not going to be one simple stage and it’ll be interesting to see how they’ve routed the two time trials.

Martin and Costa will be joined in Romandie by leading Colombian climber Darwin Atapuma, Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Anass Ait El Abdia and Matteo Bono.

Tuesday’s first stage will see the peloton tackle the challenging 166.6km ride from Fribourg to Delemont, which features four intermediate climbs before the race ends on a descent.

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France's Thibaut Pinot claims Tour of the Alps title as Mark Padun wins final stage

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Pinot (c) celebrates on the podium upon completion of the fifth stage.

French climbing specialist Thibaut Pinot won cycling’s Tour of the Alps on Friday with Ukraine’s Mark Padun claiming victory in the fifth and final stage.

Britain’s four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome finished fourth overall as the Sky leader fine tunes his form for the Giro d’Italia.

FDJ rider Pinot becomes the second French winner after Luc Leblanc in 1997. Italy’s Domenico Pozzovivo finished overall second with Colombian Miguel Angle Lopez third, both at 0.15sec adrift.

The race concluded after a 164km run from Rattenberg to Innsbruck, featuring a series of climbs, one of which peaked 12km from home before a 6km descent and a 6km dash for victory.

Padun made a late solo break to cross the line alone, 0.05sec ahead of New Zealander George Bennett with Czech Jan Hirt at 0.06.

It was the 21-year-old Bahrain-Merida rider’s first professional victory.

Froome – competing despite his case pending with the International Cycling Union’s anti-doping unit – finished the stage in eighth position.

The 32-year-old gave an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol at the Vuelta a Espana last September.

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