FLORENCE, Italy — Rui Costa of Portugal prevailed over a star-studded field to win a grueling road race at the cycling world championships Sunday, edging Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain in a two-man sprint finish.
Rodriguez attacked several times in the final lap of a hilly circuit but Rui Costa caught him in the finishing straight and easily won the sprint for the biggest victory of his career.
Rui Costa clocked 7 hours, 25 minutes, 44 seconds over the marathon-like 169-mile route to become the first Portuguese winner in the race’s 86-year history.
The 26-year-old Rui Costa has won three stages at the Tour de France, one in 2011 and two this year, and he also won the Tour de Suisse this year and last.
Alejandro Valverde of Spain edged local favorite Vincenzo Nibali of Italy for third, 15 seconds behind.