Rui Costa (Movistar) earned well-deserved recognition for his fine 2012 season in his home country when he was named Portugal’s sportsman of the year, beating Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo into second place.
The award was voted for by a panel of experts, with input from the Portuguese public, and they gave the decision to Rui Costa, who enjoyed a wonderful campaign aboard Selle Italia.
Costa’s most outstanding achievement came in June, when he took an assured overall victory at the Tour de Suisse after defending the leader’s jersey for most of the week, but his season-long consistency cannot be overlooked. In an era of ever-increased specialisation, the 26-year-old all-rounder has been something of a throwback to an age when riders raced with commitment from February to October.
2nd at the GP Plouay and 3rd at both the Tour de Romandie and GP de Québec, Costa shone on all terrains in 2012, as testified by his 10th place finish in the final WorldTour standings.
A consummate teammate, Costa rode in support of Alejandro Valverde at the Ardennes Classics and Tour de France, but also helped himself to top-20 finishes in each race, including a strong 18th at La Grande Boucle.
Costa was prominent in his national colours too. An aggressive showing in the London 2012 Olympics road race yielded 12th place, while at the world championships in Valkenburg, he took Portugal’s best-ever finish of 11th.
In spite of his historic success, however, Rui Costa was not on hand at the glitzy ceremony in Estoril and it was his girlfriend Carla who collected the prize on his behalf.
The reason? Costa is already preparing for the 2013 season with his Movistar team at a training camp in Gorraiz, Navarra. For the metronomic Portuguese rider, the seeds of success are sown in winter…