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"I don't know if I can win again," Costa said. "Everyone wants to win the world title and there are riders who have prepared especially for the race. You need everything to go perfect and you also be lucky."

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11.09.2014 @ 14:55 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Rui Costa will star in two Canadian one-day classics held in the coming weekend as an important part of his build-up towards his rainbow jersey defense at the World Championships in Ponferrada. Even though exactly the same race schedule proved to be extremely successful for the Portuguese, he played down his chances to repeat his achievement from Florence, claiming that a bronchitis which forced him to abandon the Tour de France significantly hampered his preparations.

 

Costa will line up at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Montreal alongside such names as Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE), Greg van Avermaet, Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Bauke Mollema (Belkin) or Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). Even though Lampre-Merida rider usually performed well in Canadian one-day races which courses suit him down to the ground, he remains uncertain about his current disposition as he have raced in only one event following his recovery period.

 

"It's always good to come to Canada. I've won in Montreal in 2011 and was third in Quebec one year and I'm here in the world champion's jersey. It's very important for me and they'll be special races because they're some of my last as world champion this year," Costa said during the pre-race press conference in Quebec on Wednesday.

 

"I've also got lots of fans here and even friends in Montreal. They always support me warmly and that's always nice. These two races will be my last WorldTour races and then I'll also ride the Coppa Agostoni in Italy next week."

 

Even though 2014 season was less successful for Costa than previous year, the Portuguese was pleased with his performances throughout last nine months.

 

"It's never easy racing in the rainbow jersey, it's a huge responsibility," he admitted. "People are always watching for you and expect a lot from you. Your rivals also mark you closer in the races because they can spot the rainbow jersey. Of course it's good to wear the jersey and I've enjoyed my year as world champion. I didn't have a great year but the most important thing is that I gave my best and I think I took the chances I had. I'd hoped to do better during the Tour de France but I was hampered by a breathing problem."

 

The Lampre-Merida rider also stated that despite riding with number one attached on his back, he doesn’t consider himself a biggest favorite to take a victory in Quebec and Montreal.

 

"It's difficult to say who will win because to be honest, because Plouay was my first race back after the Tour de France I haven't been able to analyse the form of my rivals," he said. "But I think Simon Gerrans or Greg van Avermaert could do well, or perhaps evan an outsider."

 

Costa also played down his chances to defend the rainbow jersey in Ponferrada, but nonetheless if he manages to stay in the front group until the last lap, no one should disregard smart Portuguese rider.

 

"I don't honestly know if I can win again," he said. "Everyone wants to win the world title and there are always riders who have prepared especially for the race. It's a one-day race, so you need everything to go perfect and you also be lucky. It also depends on your rivals. There will be many riders hoping to win in Ponferrada and they're be very strong, so it's difficult to pick the favourites. I've worked pretty well and this races will help me prepare for the worlds, we'll see what happens on the day."

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