Friday, July 18, 2014

Who is Rui Costa?

This is Rui Costa.  He's the guy at the Lisbon airport, sitting in that little glass box, who checked my passport.  But it's not really a picture of Rui Costa.  They wouldn't let me take a picture of him, even though I only really wanted a picture of his namebadge.  See, they're funny about taking pictures of passport officials at airports.  Not funny ha-ha, more like funny lead you away in zip-tie handcuffs to a small room with a locked door.

So, it's not really Rui Costa.  Also, he's not the Rui Costa I'm talking about.

Rui Costa in his national team kit
This is Rui Costa.  Or, more precisely, Rui Manuel Cesar Costa, following the Portuguese tradition of giving everyone way too many damn names.  He's a retired Portuguese footballer (or "soccerer" for those of us in the US), who is now a coach (or "trainer" for you Premier League snobs).  He had an outstanding career as a midfielder for Benefica in Portugal, as well as AC Milan and Florintina in Italy.  He also played for his country in the 2002 World Cup. 

But he's not the Rui Costa I'm talking about.

This is Rui Costa.  Or, more precisely, Rui Alberto Fario da Costa.  He's currently the team leader for the Lampre-Merida cycling team, much to the chagrin of many US Americans, who'd prefer to see Costa's teammate Chris Horner as the team leader.

That's Horner on the right, looking salty.
My favorite part of this photo is that it is timeless.  Euro-sporty style is such a hot mess that this photo could have been taken anytime in the last 50 years.  Also, is it just me, or does Richeze bear a striking resemblance to Robert De Niro?

Chris Horner, you're outside the circle of trust
Anyhow, Rui Costa is the current World Road Champion and is a three-time Tour de Suisse winner.  He has also previously won stages at the Tour.

That's Costa on the left behind the cast of Jersey Shore, I think, wearing the World champion stripes
He is currently 13th on the Tour.  And he appears to be a really nice guy.  According to Klaus of Cycling Inquisition, Costa spends a considerable amount of time on the Tour riding around greeting fans, taking selfies with them, and signing autographs.  So much so, that he awarded Costa the "Golden Peacock award."

Photo by Cycling Inquisition

But this not Rui Costa.  This is my friend Pedro Carvalho.  He might be the most interesting man in the world.

Check out Pedro at Mountain Biking in Lisbon
Anyhow, Pedro explained to me that the Portugese are nuts for Rui Costa.  Costa has caused a renewed interest in road cycling and a boom in road bikes in Portugal.  He is probably also responsible for all those guys I saw squeezed into that awful Lampre kit riding around Portugal.

I don't understand what's going on here.
What I'd look like in Lampre gear
I'm kind of jealous of Portugal having Rui Costa.  Not since Lance has America had a cycling hero that grabbed the nation's attention (even beyond bike nerds).  I kind of miss him for that.  And I'm mad about it too.  But whatever.

Did I mention I saw Lance having a beer at a bike show in Portugal? Pretty sure he was working there.

Hey, a guy's gotta eat.
Pedro took me on a mountain bike tour near Sintra, Portugal.  The scenery is amazing.  I'm jealous about that too. 


Your beer pairing:

Sovina beers.  Basically the only craft beer I came across in Portugal.  It was pretty good.  Give it a shot if you ever find it. 

Go be brave.

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