Rui Costa wins Portuguese national championships and keeps his dream alive: "I hope to go to the Tour"

Rui Costa became Portuguese National Champion for the third time today (2015, 2020 and 2024), adding another important victory to palmarès - in what was a big day for EF Education-EasyPost as Alberto Bettiol and Darren Rafferty also won in Italy and Ireland.

After the end of the race and speaking to the RTP microphones, Rui Costa analyzed the race: "It was a hard race, done at high speed and difficult to control. UAE Team Emirates had three men, Ivo and Rui (Oliveira twins, ed.) were on the breakaway and they attacked in turn, trying their luck. I wore myself out a lot because I had to close the gaps." Rui Costa responded to an attack very early in the race, when Ivo Oliveira, who was defending the title he won last year, attacked and took more men with him, managing to bridge the gap to the attacking group after about 3 kilometers.

Rui Costa wins Portuguese national championships and keeps his dream alive: "I hope to go to the Tour"
Rui Costa raises his arms in Santa Maria da Feira to wear the National Champion jersey for the third time in his career

The race would only be decided in the last few hundred meters with Rui Oliveira attacking from the back of the quartet in the final cobbled ascent to the line. "Rui is fast and I knew he was good, but I managed to keep up with him and I was stronger today".

With this victory, Rui Costa's morale is high after a troubled start to the season with a crash at the Volta ao Algarve which led to the veteran being sidelined for many months, making his season so far with his new team, EF Education - Easypost, go unnoticed. "I fell in the Volta ao Algarve, I went through a very complicated phase as you all know, but what counts is that here I am today, winning another National Championship."

We're halfway through the season and there's still a long calendar of races, so with his return to competition it's imperative to ask the new National Champion what his next race is. "Immediate goals? The Tour. I hope that with this victory I can be part of the line-up for the Tour de France. The team hasn't decided anything yet and they're meeting. Between today and tomorrow we should know who the squad will be."

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