Rui Costa is climbing something

In my World Championships road race preview, I listed a load of major contenders before concluding it would probably be one of the other riders who won. Never let it be said that you don’t get accurate predictions on this website.

Rui Costa is a very strong young rider, capable of winning Grand Tour stages and shorter stage races. This year he won the Tour de Suisse, then stage 16 of the Tour de France and then stage 19 a few days later. Now he’s world champion. Costa appears to be on the up and up, which is handy because gaining altitude is very much what cycling’s about.

The race

It did turn out to be a tough one. There were only really climbers left at the end. While Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert all finished in the top ten, the climax had a very Grand Tour feel, right down to Joe Podium, Joaquim Rodriguez, finishing second.

As so often seems to be the case, Vincenzo Nibali had to do much of the chasing in the closing kilometres. Alejandro Valverde had no need to help with there being a Spanish rider (Rodriguez) up the road. Rui Costa seemed to be working on the philosophy that he was happy to come fourth if it came down to it, so he didn’t do anything either. This general laziness was ultimately rewarded, which just goes to show that cycling’s sometimes about being both tremendously fit and tremendously work-shy.

How did the British challenge pan out?

National coach, Rod Ellingworth said:

“All of them sitting on the bus with 100km of the race still to go is very disappointing.”

You don’t win many bike races from the safety of the bus.