Alberto Bettiol, Rui Costa, and Darren Rafferty win national titles

Bettiol soloes to victory in Tuscany

June 23, 2024

Our riders raced their national championships across three continents this week. And today, on the last day of nationals, three of our riders earned the privilege of standing on the top step of the podium and pulling on a new jersey. Alberto Bettiol took the win in Italy, Rui Costa in Portugal, and Darren Rafferty in Ireland.

Alberto Bettiol will wear the Italian tricolore jersey for the next year.

As Alberto crested the final climb of the day, he glanced over his shoulder and realized he was alone. He had unknowingly dropped the other riders in the breakaway.

“I didn’t expect to drop them because they were really strong. On the last lap, I just closed my eyes on the climb. I looked back, there was nobody, and I kept going,” he said.

When he had the finish line in his sight, Alberto knew the win was his. He began to high-five the crowd, savoring the moment: a Tuscan winning the national championship in Tuscany, just days ahead of the Tour de France visiting his home region.

“I am super happy to wear this jersey close to my hometown," he said. "It’s going to be a year full of emotion with this jersey around the world and especially starting next week in Florence for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. I want to say thanks to my team…and all the team around me, my family, and a lot of friends were here today to support me. It’s something great. I think it’s one of the best days of my life from a cycling point of view.”

Rui Costa won his third elite road race national title today.

He knew the field, knew the course, and knew exactly which moves to follow. He joined the early breakaway and never again saw the peloton. As the kilometers ticked by, Rui and his breakaway companions shed one rider after another until it came down to a group of four. With the finish line coming at the crest of a 700 meter-long climb, Rui timed his attack to perfection. He crossed the line several bike lengths ahead of the runner up and celebrated with his fists in the air.

Minutes later, Darren Rafferty took the Irish road race national championship.

Darren soloed to victory after spending the day in the breakaway. With 27 kilometers to go, he attacked the group. Just one rider was able to go with him and the two quickly opened a gap. Darren waited patiently until nine kilometers remained before he attacked one more time. He time trialed the finish line and took the victory by 16 seconds.

This is Darren’s first elite national title and his first victory in his rookie season. He adds this title to his resume which already includes two Under-23 time trial national championships, two junior road race national championships, and one junior time trial national championship.

Congratulations to our newest national champions! We can’t wait to see your new kits!

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