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"I'm racing against the best but I have the world champion to watch out for. The team want me to look after him, stay close, and bring him to the front when he needs it. If he needs a bottle, if he needs help I'll be there."

Photo: RadioShack-Nissan






26.04.2014 @ 10:28 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Nelson Oliveira has a very tricky task for 2014: it is his job to ensure compatriot Rui Costa honours the Rainbow Jersey by winning big races in it in 2014. It’s the reason why he was signed by Lampre-Merida from RadioShack.


But despite this thankless task, the Portuguese rider is thankful to Lampre for signing him up for 2014.


"Each team is different but at the WorldTour level most things are roughly the same. The staff are great and the riders and the ambiance are good too," he told Cyclingnews after the Amstel Gold Race.


"My manager helped me get here," he added. "Basically there was one Portuguese here with Rui and now there are two. So it means we can talk together in Portuguese, have a few jokes, and share some stories. But at the end of the day, I'm just happy here. I was happy at my last team too but this opportunity came up and I decided to take it."


Despite having shown a great deal of talent in the U23 ranks including fourth in the World Time Trial Championships one year, Oliveira is not focusing on personal success and is solely zoned in on helping his teammate, compatriot and friend.


"I raced with him at the U23 level in Portugal. He was at Benfica and I was just coming through the juniors and into U23. He was top though, and was always a winner, even back then. This year I'll race a lot with him. It's going to improve me as rider and make me stronger, especially mentally.”


This year may prove difficult for Oliveira as he will have very little chance to chase personal success but he is confident that he can adapt to this unfortunate change.


"It's different but it gives me motivation. I'm racing against the best but I have the world champion to watch out for. The team ask me to stay right by him, to be at his side. They want me to look after him, stay close, and bring him to the front when he needs it. If he needs a bottle, if he needs help I'll be there. Sometimes it's hard to stay with him, you know."


But it will have its upsides. Costa is targeting the Tour de France and this could lead to a debut in the race for Oliveira, who finished both the Vuelta and the Giro.


"I hope so. We'll see. I'm on the long list but you never know."




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