Joaquim Rodríguez: “Tomorrow will be the first crucial climb”
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Joaquim Rodríguez: “Tomorrow will be the first crucial climb”

by Ben Atkins at 2:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Catalan looks forward to carrying his Maglia Rosa into the mountains

joaquim rodriguezRace leader Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) finally enjoyed a quiet day in the Giro d’Italia in today’s thirteenth stage. The 121km course took the race a little bit closer to the mountain stages of the weekend, but featured just one 4th category climb and was run at a relatively relaxed pace. Victory went to Team Sky’s World champion Mark Cavendish, taking his third stage of the race so far, but it was a good day for Rodríguez’ Katusha team.

“Today it was finally quite a calm stage for us,” Rodríguez said. “Other teams led the peloton, and we managed to get a good position with Alexander Kristoff. Anyway, in this kind of finishing line, Cavendish seems unbeatable.”

Stage 14 will be very different however, as the Giro takes in 204km into the Alps, from Cherasco, to a mountaintop finish in Cervinia.

“Tomorrow there will be the first crucial climb,” he explained. “It will be hard because everybody is starting to get tired; we haven’t a rest day for a long time. It won’t be a suitable climb for my characteristics, I prefer shorter and steeper gradient, but we’ll see what we can do

“The main goal is to lose not a lot [of time], or maybe to gain as much as we can.”

So far the Giro peloton has tackled five ‘medium mountain’ stages, but has yet to hit any of the big mountains that the race is famous for. This is about to change however, as the final week will feature five tough days, where the final Maglia Rosa will finally be decided.

“So far we haven’t tackled a really hard climb like the one we face tomorrow so we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” said Rodríguez in the post-stage press conference. “The favourites are still the same as always: [Liquigas-Cannondale’s Ivan] Basso, [Lampre-ISD’s Michele] Scarponi, [RadioShack-Nissan’s Fränk] Schleck, [Astana’s Roman] Kreuziger and [Colnago-CSF Inox’s Domenico] Pozzovivo.

“Fortunately we can stay relaxed because we’ve got an advantage on my rivals,” he explained. “The climb in tomorrow’s stage doesn’t really suit me but if I’m able to gain some time, I will. For now I’m focused on tomorrow, even though the Stelvio stage is probably the most decisive of this year’s Giro d’Italia.

“But tomorrow could still be difficult, especially if the weather’s bad.”

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