Rodriguez vows to fight on in Volta a Catalunya: ‘Anything can happen’
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Rodriguez vows to fight on in Volta a Catalunya: ‘Anything can happen’

by Shane Stokes at 8:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
Now second overall, Catalan rider didn’t expect Martin to hold on during the final climb

Joaquim RodriguezAfter moving up to second overall in the Volta a Catalunya yesterday, Joaquim Rodriguez has admitted that he and others underestimated the advantage Dan Martin had built plus his ability to hang on until the finish of the stage to Port Ainè.

After Martin emerged from a long distance break to solo towards the finish of the final climb, Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) jumped out of the peloton in a bid to close the gap. They ate into Martin’s advantage in the closing kilometres but were still 36 seconds behind the determined Garmin-Sharp rider at the summit.

This saw Martin take the leader’s jersey, holding a ten second advantage over Rodriguez after the results were drawn up.

“I'm happy about this second place, also because during the stage I proved to be in a great shape and I had good feelings” said Rodriguez. “Unfortunately I couldn't win, we were really surprised by the action of Martin, otherwise the team could have taken another pace in the mountain, or I could have tried to attack a little before.”

Martin’s ten second gap over Rodriguez means that the Catalan is within striking distance of taking the jersey, although he knows that it won’t be easy to distance a strong Garmin-Sharp team. He’s determined to keep fighting. “The gap is still narrow, there are still three more stages and everything can happen.”

Today’s stage to Lleida is lumpy but has a mainly flat to downhill finale. It appears suited to a bunch gallop, while tomorrow’s final climb comes over ten kilometres from the finish.

Rodriguez will likely give it a go, but the most likely place for a showdown will be on Sunday’s final stage in Barcelona. The riders will face eight ascents of the Montjuic hill and with a ten second finishing bonus available to the winner, he will aim to take the stage victory and hope that Martin isn’t in the top three.

Speaking to VeloNation yesterday after his victory, Martin said that he’d prefer a bigger gap, but that he believed it was possible to win the race overall.

“I think that last stage is not going to be played off on bonus seconds, it will be played off on legs as it is such a hard day. It really suits Rodriguez but if it suits him, it suits me as well,” he said in a long interview. “We are similar-type riders. I have just got to hope I continue to get stronger in the race. I have probably got one of the strongest teams in the race to go with it.

“I do think we are in a strong position. Obviously it would be nice to have a few more seconds now, but I’d rather be ten seconds in front rather than ten seconds behind, for sure.”

Also see: Dan Martin Interview: On winning the Queen stage and leading the Volta a Catalunya


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