Rui Costa Wins Rain-Hit World Cycling Road Race Championship

Rui Costa of Portugal won the men’s cycling world road race title today after several top riders abandoned the rain-lashed event.

Costa, 26, beat Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez in a sprint finish. Another Spaniard, Alejandro Valverde, was third after the 272-kilometer (169-mile) event in Florence. Costa had a time of 7 hours, 25 minutes, 44 seconds.

The entire eight-man British team, including Tour de France champions Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, failed to finish after heavy rain led to a series of crashes.

Another Tour de France champion, Cadel Evans of Australia, Chris Horner of the U.S., this year’s Tour of Spain winner, and Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, second in this year’s Tour de France, also didn’t finish.

“Even before going out on to the circuit there were crashes everywhere. It’s just the weather, it hadn’t let up all day,” Froome, who pulled out after Wiggins and compatriot Mark Cavendish crashed, told the British Broadcasting Corp. “It had been raining solidly and all the drains started flooding, and in some points on the road it was quite deep with water. People were trying to move up on the sides but were getting stuck in the gutters, causing most of the crashes.”

Last year’s champion, Philippe Gilbert of Belgium, came ninth.

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