Longtime 2012 race leader Rodriguez applauds ‘spectacular’ Vuelta a España route
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Longtime 2012 race leader Rodriguez applauds ‘spectacular’ Vuelta a España route

by Shane Stokes at 2:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
CAS says no date has been set yet for Katusha WorldTour licence hearing

Joaquim RodriguezHaving been the strongest rider for most of last year’s Vuelta a España, Joaquim Rodriguez has given a thumbs up to the route of the 2013 edition, as unveiled yesterday.

Featuring no less than eleven summit finishes, and thus representing over 50% of the total stages, Rodriguez knows that the route suits his punchy style. He showed in last year’s race that he was the most explosive rider, but his collection of three stage wins and thirteen days in the red jersey was disrupted when he cracked on stage seventeen and dropped to his eventual finishing position of third.

Providing he can avoid that sort of bad day, he could finally win his first Grand Tour next September. The route appears ideally suited to his talents, with enough uphill finishes to enable him to overcome the time costs of the 27 kilometre team time trial and 38 km individual race against the clock.

“I like the profile of the race a lot, because it will be hard, very hard,” said the Catalan. “This will force everybody to be in a great shape from the beginning to the end.

“The first stages are quite similar to the 2012 ones, with a flat profile in the first part and tough summit finish. The second week will display some calm stages, while the third week will be the most difficult. The battle for general classification will start from the very beginning, so I expect this Vuelta to be very spectacular.”

Rodriguez is yet to decide on his final programme for 2013, leaving his participation in the Vuelta a España subject to confirmation. His Katusha team has been denied a WorldTour licence by the UCI’s Licence Commission and the team is currently fighting to get it back.

It has lodged a complaint in the Court of Arbitration for Sport trying to overturn that decision. CAS turned down a related application for a temporary licence, something which would have got the team into the Santos Tour Down Under. Next up is the full hearing but, according to CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb, it is too soon to know exactly when that will be held.

“The Panel of arbitrators should be constituted early next week and a hearing date will be determined shortly thereafter,” he told VeloNation.

Meanwhile, amid speculation that Rodriguez might be able to break his contract due to the team’s predicament, Katusha’s general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov has again insisted that is not an option. “He is under contract to Katusha,” he said, according to l’Equipe. “There is nothing in his contract that would allow him to leave the team. There is no releasing clause.”


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