Who picked Rui Costa to win today's Men's Elite World Championship in Florence?
The rain lashed route seemed perfect for the kind of hard men who regularly fight out the Spring Classics. But, it seemed, Cancellara, Gilbert, and Sagan marked each other out of the race.
Vincenzo Nibali did not win, but deserves kudos for giving his all to win on home soil. He hit the deck hard on the third-to-last lap around the finishing circuit, but not only managed to bridge back up to the peloton but made the final selection of four riders over the penultimate climb of the day. In that group, he was isolated against two Spanish riders, Valverde and Rodriguez, and the Portugese Rui Costa, who refused to help Nibali cover the inevitable attacks by Rodriguez. If Nibali didn't chase him down, Rodriguez would have won off the front. If Nibali continue to cover his attacks, he would have nothing left for a final sprint against Valverde. Eventually, with just a kilometer left, Nibali just let Rodriguez go, and it was at that point that Rui Costa finally went, first bridging up to Rodriguez, then beating him in a head-up sprint. Nibali either didn't have enough energy left or was too disgusted to contend for the bronze medal against Valverde.