Fit and motivated, Rodriguez ready to chase podium in Tour de France
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fit and motivated, Rodriguez ready to chase podium in Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 10:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
“I arrive in very good condition and I am looking forward to the start"

Joaquim rodriguezPreviously second overall in the Giro d’Italia and twice third in the Vuelta a España, Joaquim Rodriguez believes that a podium finish is possible in the Tour de France due to the condition he has heading into the race.

The Katusha rider, who last year dominated the Vuelta a España but who lost out on the leader’s jersey when he had one bad day, has oriented his season around the Tour de France and has worked hard to be at optimum condition for the event.

“We have prepared ourselves to do a great Tour as we did in the Giro and the Vuelta, so I expect to be at the same level,” he said as the final days count down. “I arrive in very good condition and I am looking forward to the start.”

Referring to the form he had in last year’s Giro d’Italia, when he finished second overall to Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), he hopes to be in the same condition again. “That's my hundred percent, and I hope that I have reached it,” he stated. “If at that level I can't win or get the podium, I'll have to be satisfied with the position I'll get.”

According to Rodriguez, there’s clear difference in level required to reach each step in the Tour. “Each rung is different and the jump from one to another costs a lot. I hope to finish it satisfied with whatever position it is. Fourth, fifth, second or first ... but in the one that we deserve.”

Luck also plays a part, though. “At the end you have to worry about yourself and hope that everything will go in the best way possible for you. It is not easy going through the three weeks without anything happening to you,” he accepts.

The Spaniard missed last year’s Tour as he recognised that route – with its emphasis on time trial kilometres – was not suited to him. Instead, he targeted the Giro and the Vuelta and clocked up podium finishes in each. His Vuelta showing was particularly impressive, although he ultimately slipped back after looking like the likely winner of the race.

This year the Tour route is hillier and more suited to his explosive characteristics. He’s hopeful of doing well, but is also aware that the Tour is different to the other Grand Tours.

“It's different in many ways. The name, the stress… People know that being seen in the Tour changes your sportive career. It's the most followed by all the public, the sponsors, etcetera”

What reassures him is the support he will get in the race. “We have a great team,” he asserts. “Surely the best possible Katusha.”

Rodriguez is a two-time winner of the UCI’s WorldTour and has pinpointed winning a Grand Tour as one of the top goals left for the rest of his career.

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