Sunday 25 February 2018

costa TIMES surge TO PERFECTION TO CLAIM TITLE

Portuguese Rui Costa kept his composure in a tense finale to upset the favourites and win the World Road Race Championships following a series

of crashes and persistent rain.

After sitting behind and refusing to take turns at the front, Costa made his move some 1.5km from the finish to bridge the gap with Joaquim Rodriguez and beat the Spaniard in a sprint finish to become the first Portuguese rider to win the event.

Alejandro Valverde took third place for his fifth podium at the event, though he has never won the coveted rainbow jersey.

Britain suffered a disastrous day as all eight of their team, including Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, failed to finish a gruelling road race leaving the team's coach to question their spirit.

British interest in the race ended 80km from the end after Froome's bid to achieve a rare Tour de France and World Championships double was left in tatters as heavy and prolonged rain caused chaos.

"They are all disappointed and they need to be," said Rod Ellingworth, a key figure in Britain's cycling success in recent years. Asked if he believed the team lacked spirit, Ellingworth added: "Yes. I think it may be that simple. A lot of people were talking the talk beforehand and didn't see it through. No excuses, each and every one of them underperformed. They will look at themselves in the mirror tonight and think they didn't do a very good job."

Wiggins once again struggled to handle wet conditions, an issue that had dogged him in the Giro d'Italia earlier in the year.

"I am sure he is walking around with his head down because no one wants to perform like that," said Ellingworth.

Froome was not excused from criticism either. Ellingworth said: "It's something for Chris to look at. Chris wasn't good in this weather today and he knows that as well."

Irish Independent

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