Cyclist Rui Costa has just brought home Portugal’s first ever Road World Championship in what has to be the most stressful finish to a road race I’ve ever watched. I’m still tense!
He displayed brilliant tactics, steel nerve and incredible patience, gambling everything on being able to attack at the very last moment. His gamble paid off and he beat Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez across the line by half a bike length. (I think; the coverage hasn’t yet shown an overhead view.)
In the post-race interview he said this was the most important win of his life, meaning it’s bigger than even his two Tour de France stage wins in July. Now he will wear the rainbow champion’s jersey for a full year, until he defends the title next year.
What a coup for Rui, and very well-earned. He stayed in while other big-name riders abandoned right and left, including the entire British team and most of the Australian and US teams. The race was seven hours of miserable conditions, including nearly non-stop rain and even lightning, but the sun came out at the finish — just in time to catch Rui Costa sobbing into his hands as the import of his win hit him.
And now I need a cup of calming tea. Whew, that was nerve-racking.