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Podium finishers + Nibali and Froome reflect on today's race through the Tuscan rain...

Rui Costa of Portugal is the new world road champion following a tough race in Tuscany in which heavy rain - and even thunder and lightning - gave way late on to clear skies and, presumably, a rainbow in addition to the one adorning the jersey he won after a two-way sprint in Florence, beating Spain's Joaquin Rodriguez into second place.

Five riders seemed set to contest the finale in the closing kilometres, but Colombia's Rigoberto Uran succumbed to a crash. That left Costa and Rodriguez, plus the latter's team mate Alejandro Valverde and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, to fight it out.

Nibali had crashed earlier, the effort of chasing back on perhaps costing him dear. Spain had the numerical superiority, but couldn't capitalise on the one-two punch of Rodriguez's attacks and Valverde's sprint; instead, Costa had the coolest head and overhauled a devastated Rodriguez in the closing metres.

Here's a round-up of reaction, but first, the video highlights:

2013 UCI road world champion, Rui Costa of Portugal:

Wearing this jersey was a goal during my entire career and I can't still believe it. I had this race marked down on my season schedule.

The World Championships are always sort of a lottery, difficult to win. It's hard, even more in a race like this, with soaking rain, especially in the first three hours.

You always go through ups and downs in such courses; at some points I didn't feel well, but my feelings in the last lap were better.

I knew I had to stay focused into the Fiesole climb and stuck to the decisive move. I also knew I'd be struggling at Via Salviati, and knew where I had to attack to chase Joaquin down and going for the sprint with him.

I was thinking the same as everyone about these Worlds - I mean, Italy leading the race, the Spaniards closing the gaps on Nibali - so I took a choice about how I should have ridden before the race.

But I know Purito [Rodriguez] well, and I never thought I could beat him. Now it's time to finish this season; I will have time to enjoy and taste this victory after that.

Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain, who finished second:

I can’t be happy for this medal: both Alejandro and I have a great palmarès, but we can’t seem to win the rainbow jersey.

Today we were really close, but clearly it had to be Rui Costa’s day.

I thought I could make it in the last kilometre, but when I saw him arriving, I understood I couldn’t finish.

I tried to challenge him, but it just wasn’t enough.

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, third today, the fifth time he’s finished on the podium without ever getting onto the top step:

I can't complain: I have snatched five medals, and even though the gold didn't come today, we'll to our best to contest it in the next few years.

Purito rode perfectly, and there was some moment when I though he could really win.

At the end, Rui launched a strong attack. I didn't rule out Rui's chances - I knew he was as dangerous as Nibali and I shouldn't be leaving him go ahead, but after 270k, the legs did not respond so well, and those meters he took into the turn...

I couldn't close it. I should have been there, but I couldn't.

Taking second and third is something to be happy about, and we must congratulate him - he was the best today.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, who recovered from a crash to become one of the four protagonists in the finale, but finished out of the medals:

It doesn’t feel like I finished fourth.

I gave my all to get back on after the crash, I didn’t even want to get back on the bike after the blows I took, but then I managed to recover and I tried every way I could.

Valverde [who beat him for third] didn’t ride a correct sprint, because he squeezed me out to the right.

Before that happened, I couldn’t close down Rui Costa because it wasn’t up to me with two Spaniards there. We’ll try again.

But we’ll try again. Spain lost these workd championships.

Great Britain’s Chris Froome, who abandoned after 3 of the 10 laps of the closing circuit:

The conditions are the same for everyone; we've got no excuse. We just weren't there.

It's a big disappointment, especially having made it such a big objective, but with these conditions it just wasn't meant to be.

The first three laps on the circuit, there were crashes everywhere. It's rained solidly all day.

After three laps the split started happening and I looked around and realised I didn't have any team-mates left and it wasn't going to happen.

Given we've come up empty-handed, we'll have to go back to the drawing board [ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016].

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

19 comments

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daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
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Today's race was for the hard men only - the Brits need to learn what one day racing is all about and harden the f*ck up!

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sidesaddle [79 posts] 2 years ago
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When the going gets tough the British give up. This will take a LONG time to live down.

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Goldfever4 [218 posts] 2 years ago
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GB tactics once again terrible in a major single day road race.

I can't remember seeing Wiggins or Cummings do anything of note, they were all disappointing.

The only person in the GB team who did their job today was Cav.

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mybrainthinksim... [24 posts] 2 years ago
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Gotta feel for J-Rod, to loose by a bike length after 7 1/2 hours in those conditions, no wonder he was in bits on the podium. Still gonna have to back him for podiums in grand tours next year.

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Chiswick [45 posts] 2 years ago
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Compare and contrast:

1. I gave my all to get back on after the crash, I didn’t even want to get back on the bike after the blows I took, but then I managed to recover and I tried every way I could.

2. It's a big disappointment, especially having made it such a big objective, but with these conditions it just wasn't meant to be.

The first three laps on the circuit, there were crashes everywhere. It's rained solidly all day.

After three laps the split started happening and I looked around and realised I didn't have any team-mates left and it wasn't going to happen.

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zedand3 [19 posts] 2 years ago
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I say chapeau to any rider that made it to the finish, even Tommy Voeckler, last to finish, I think. Heroic failure for Uran, Nibali and Purito, whose turn on the top step will surely come.
GB massively disappointing, one of the biggest teams on the starting line, all out by lap three, was it? It's time they learned how to dig deep and scrap for results (not that I could get round even one lap).

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Al__S [1007 posts] 2 years ago
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What happened to Belgium? They seemed to be riding well, with big numbers still in play, then suddenly they were nowhere?

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arrieredupeleton [575 posts] 2 years ago
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Do you think Rui Costa was riding to an SRM or perhaps just going on feel, tactics and racing nouse? Whilst Sky/BC have changed the face of GT racing, the problems with so many kids coming through the BC Academy especially via the track, is that they can sometimes lack the savvy to actually 'race' well. Why on earth did GB burn half their matches riding on the front before they even got to the circuit? If they are worried about a break going away, stick a GB rider in it and sit back. 99% of the time the break will be caught anyway.

Anyway. Well done Rui Costa. I was kicking myself for not backing him before. He's a bit of an expert of winning long, hilly GT stages (TdF Stages and 2 x Tour de Suisse).

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TurboJoe [71 posts] 2 years ago
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Belgium seemed to lose it when the weather improved!

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 2 years ago
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Wiggo leaves the team bus before the rest arrive back and it appears not to have even done a turn on the front....your a good rider Brad, but youve got to man up and deal with the fact Froomey is a better road racer and swallow that bloody ego

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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Utter disgrace, its not like we don't get rain in the UK, man up boys, get some pride and finish the bloody race, don't act like my 6 year old who gives up once she realises she can't win... oh that's it, you are acting like kids who don't get there sweets, what about the British fans who spent their money to come over and see you, I'm ashamed.

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Simon E [2652 posts] 2 years ago
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Doug Dewey's reaction:

To all the armchair critics out there, come back to me when you've ridden 270k in conditions like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOl2OPjewOE … #fools

he means you, mike.

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MattT53 [146 posts] 2 years ago
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So Froome pulled out as he didn't have any team mates left? Suppose it was that massive contingent of Portuguese riders on the front that netted it for Costa then?!

Quality race though.

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Noelieboy [87 posts] 2 years ago
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mybrainthinksimfitterthanireallyam wrote:

Gotta feel for J-Rod, to loose by a bike length after 7 1/2 hours in those conditions, no wonder he was in bits on the podium. Still gonna have to back him for podiums in grand tours next year.

What on earth was he doing? he seemed to be talking to Costa discussing what they were going to do with 500m left. why didn't he just go for it?

seems like he blew it himself!

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Fran The Man [81 posts] 2 years ago
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"It just wasn't meant to be", says Froome. What does he think? That the outcome of what turned out to be a man-on-man sprint at the end of a gruelling bike race is in the lap of the gods? Doesn't he realise that the result is down to men's legs and their spirit, not the whim of some ethereal deity? "Man up", people say. "Wake up" is what I say.

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Fran The Man [81 posts] 2 years ago
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I, too, was puzzled by what Purito was saying to Rui Costa, and couldn't understand why he didn't just get his head down and get on with it. Jeez, he could've won!! Maybe he was trying to persuade him to wait for Valverde ....... nuts, really!

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arrieredupeleton [575 posts] 2 years ago
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Fran The Man wrote:

I, too, was puzzled by what Purito was saying to Rui Costa, and couldn't understand why he didn't just get his head down and get on with it. Jeez, he could've won!! Maybe he was trying to persuade him to wait for Valverde ....... nuts, really!

Hopefully Purito wasn't offering 150,000 reasons why he should be allowed to win the sprint. http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/535465/fresh-evidence-of-vino...

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sm [376 posts] 2 years ago
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The moment the race was lost

//pbs.twimg.com/media/BVb3JDGCEAAg8e6.jpg)

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Simon E [2652 posts] 2 years ago
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Some interesting points made by Will Fotheringham on the GB riders' performance on Sunday:

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2013/sep/30/great-britain-cycling-...