Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa admits the weight of media responsibility during his world champion year took its toll on him last season

Rui Costa insists there is no curse that comes with the world champion’s rainbow jersey, but admits the responsibility that comes with the stripes wore him down last season.

The Portuguese had the honour of wearing the jersey for the 2014 season after beating out Joaquim Rodriguez in Florence in 2013 but his sole victory came in the Tour de Suisse.

Fourth place on the UCI World Tour rankings showed Costa’s consistency through the season, but the 28-year-old says his media commitments distracted him from his cycling.

“I’m not used to talking to the media, I am a very shy person,” he told MARCA.

“The problem of rainbow jersey is not that it is jinxed or has a curse. I think the problem is that it is a huge responsibility because you become a person with whom everyone wants to talk.

“That takes so much time and have to reconcile that with the workouts and rest.

He added: “Being world champion means you spend a lot of time on these things and [still] take take hours to train and to be with the family.

“I’ve tried to do it in the most professional way and now that I do not [have the jersey] I am calmer, more focused on doing things right, which is very important to me. That is why I think this year will be calmer for me.”

Lampre-Merida’s Costa is making his season’s debut at the Tour of Oman, before heading to Europe for Paris-Nice in March, where he finished second overall in 2014.