Rui Costa joins EF Education-EasyPost
The Portuguese rider is as motivated as ever to race for victories
Former road cycling world champion and winner of the 2023 edition of the Japan Cup, Rui Costa will join EF Education-EasyPost in 2024.
Having won one-day races, stages, and general classifications in his 17 professional seasons, the Portuguese rider can adapt to a variety of race situations and terrains. Rui has more than 30 wins to his name, including 16 victories in WorldTour races and four grand tour stage wins. He has had an especially strong 2023, opening the year with a win at Trofeo Calvia back in January and closing it off with a sprint victory at his first appearance at Japan Cup earlier this week.
At 37 years old, Rui will be one of the more experienced riders on the roster. While he is keen to mentor the rookies on the team, he is equally eager to learn himself.
“Everyone, including myself, can grow alongside the younger riders. I am growing every year, learning despite my age. It’s true that I like to help but I also like to learn and improve,” Rui says.
That mindset has helped Rui become the accomplished rider he is today.
“It’s a passion. I’ve been a professional for about 17 years already and I’m still as excited now as I was 15 years ago when cycling was everything to me,” he says. “Motivation is something that grows as you live cycling. I want to get better every year and this year, with EF Education-EasyPost, I’ve heard very good things about the Cannondale bikes so I think I’m going to be on the right bike to improve.”
"To talk with friends from other cultures, for me, is one of the best parts of cycling."
Looking ahead to 2024, Rui continues, “The goals are to keep adding, to keep winning. To start this season by winning, to finish winning, that brings me extra motivation for next year. I want to keep going in the same direction. That’s my objective.”
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters sees Rui’s zeal for winning.
“A rider like Rui, who has been racing in the WorldTour for so many years, knows how to win,” Vaughters says. “What’s more, he knows how to translate near-wins into wins. His experience will be a powerful asset to this team. We have a handful of riders making their WorldTour debut next year, and Rui will be an invaluable mentor to them.”
When choosing to sign with EF Education-EasyPost, Rui considered more than just racing opportunities. He found the team’s international identity, including both riders and staff, immensely appealing.
“This is a very interesting team, a team that I have followed since I was young,” he says. “It has always been a team that has caught my attention. You learn so much from cycling. Above all, you learn about other cultures. You learn from other cultures. That’s very interesting because you go to so many different countries and within the team you have friends and teammates from so many different nationalities. To talk with friends from other cultures, for me, is one of the best parts of cycling. I love getting to know cultures well.”
Though Rui couldn’t imagine any other career for himself today, cycling wasn’t his first sport growing up.
“I started in athletics and I did two years of running but my father was always a cycling fan. He always wanted us to be cyclists, my brother and I. When we were about 11 years old, the opportunity arose to join a team close to home. Once we started cycling, that was it. There was no going back.”
As he progressed through the ranks, his family have always been his biggest fans.
“I have a wife and a son who is going to have his eighth birthday in November. He loves to ride his bike, absolutely loves it. Sometimes I’m feeling tired but my son comes to me and we go ride bikes. I think that’s something very important, for kids to have sports. Whenever I can, I will always go out on the bike with my son.”
Rui will spend the offseason chasing his son on the bike and there may be a family vacation at some point, but his priority is simply to be with his family through the winter.
“When I am at home, my mind is already calm. To rest physically, yes, but also mentally it is very important to unload everything, to have a reset, so that later you can return with enthusiasm,” he notes.
“I’m looking forward to next year and integrating into the team. We’ll go for some good results and start motivated, which is the most important thing.”