Rui Costa began the 2023 season with incredible form, had a dip halfway through but truly found his best legs once again towards the end. The Intermarché-Circus-Wanty rider has won the Japan Cup on his final day with the team.
"Winning Japan Cup is special for me. In January, I won my first race of the season in Mallorca. 9 months later, I win my last race of the season in Japan. It's also the 20th victory for my team in 2023. I'm so happy and proud," Costa said in a post-race interview. This is none less than the fifth win of the Portuguese rider's season.
At 37 years of age Costa once again found himself after leaving UAE Team Emirates and having more freedom. In Japan he took full advantage of that, taking on the hilly course which suited him quite well. He attacked and arrived at the finale together with Felix Engelhardt and Guillaume Martin. He outsprinted the German to win the final race before linking up with EF Education-EasyPost.