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Vuelta’17 Diary: Rui Costa Looks Ahead
Tour Diary: Rui Costa from UAE Team Emirates on what he is looking out for in the opening week of Vuelta a Espana.

Speaking in his weekly column for PEZ, former World Champion and UAE Team Emirates’ rider Rui Costa breaks down what he and his teammates will tackle in the opening week of the final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana.

The Mountains:
The mountain stages start early in this Grand Tour - Stage 3 is the first to test our legs at the Vuelta and it’s a stage the GC riders will need to be very attentive on, with one category 2 and two category 1 climbs. My team-mates and I have been training at altitude over the past few weeks, so we will look for a strong result here and across the other high altitude stages. Look out for UAE Team Emirates’ Louis Meintjes who knows the mountains of Andorra very well.

The Gradient:
Stunning mountains are what climbers live for and this year’s Vuelta has got some very tough climbs, especially the closing climb of stage 5, heading into Ermita Santa Lucia and the final climb of stage 8, the Alto Xorret de Catí. The stage 5 climb opens with a 15% gradient and will be a test on riders’ legs, having just overcome four other categorised climbs, whilst the Xorret de Catí on stage 8 reaches 18% at its most challenging. UAE Team Emirates has some fantastic climbers though including; Darwin Atapuma who narrowly missed out on a stage victory at the Tour de France.

The fans:
It’s been a Grand Tour season of firsts for me, my first Giro back in May and now my first Vuelta and I can’t wait. It will be nice being so close to my native Portugal and I hope to see many of the UAE Team Emirates fans lining the streets to cheers on the team.

The UAE Team Emirates line-up includes: Rui Costa, Louis Meintjes, Darwin Atapuma, Sacha Modolo, Anass Aït El Abdia, Jan Polanc, Federico Zurlo, Matej Mohoric and Przemyslaw Niemiec.

Keep up to date with UAE Team Emirates throughout the Vuelta a Espana by visiting


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