Rodriguez to lead Katusha in Tour de San Luis, but with tempered ambitions
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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rodriguez to lead Katusha in Tour de San Luis, but with tempered ambitions

by VeloNation Press at 6:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Spaniard following same blueprint as successful 2013 season

Joaquim RodriguezHaving had a highly successful season last year and winning the UCI’s WorldTour for the third time in his career, Joaquim Rodriguez has confirmed that he will follow the same initial template in 2014.

The Spanish rider will once again get things underway in Argentina, joining up with his Katusha team in riding the 2.1-ranked race there. “I’m going to start with the Tour de San Luis,” he said. “[It’s] a race I particularly enjoy because of the climate, the mental approach, the route and the level of the participants.

“Last year went especially well for me and this year we also decided to take part. Besides, the stages are varied, with no less than three summit arrivals plus a time trial. It’s a perfect route to build up a good work base. I definitely won’t be starting out to win because I’m still behind in my preparation and over all because the South Americans will be arriving in top form and highly motivated.”

In 2013 Rodriguez finished nineteenth on the Mirador del Sol mountain stage and 55th overall. While that performance was under the radar, less than a month later he won a stage and finished fourth overall in the Tour of Oman. He then continued strongly to rack up other important results.

Rodriguez was second in both the Volta a Catalunya and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, sixth in Flèche Wallonne and third overall in the Tour de France. After that he won a stage and took fourth overall in the Vuelta a España, was second in the world road race championships and first in Il Lombardia.

His first big goal will come in April, then after that he will target two Grand Tours, missing the Tour de France to do so.

“My main objectives for 2014 will be the Ardennes Classics with the Liège-Bastogne-Liège first and foremost and the Giro d’Italia, the major stage race that is well suited to my skills. At the Tour de France there is an individual time trial that is too long.

“For the second part of the season on the other hand, I’ll be aiming for the Vuelta a España and after that the World Cup that will be held on our home turf and with which I still have some unfinished business.”

Katusha directeur sportif Claudio Cozzi had a difficult time last year, flying in to Argentina but having to return home right away due to a death in his family. He’s looking forward to actually seeing the race this year. He said that while the team won’t have the pressure of needing to go for the overall standings, that it will be ambitious when possible.

“It’s a very beautiful, challenging route. Without a doubt one of the more prepared riders will win it. The guys are very motivated because they love this climate and the South American approach. We won’t be too stressed out but if the occasion should present itself, we definitely won’t hold back.”

Rodriguez will be joined by compatriots Dani Moreno, Angel Vicioso and Alberto Losada, as well as the Italians Luca Paolini and Giampaolo Caruso.

There will be a total of eleven other WorldTour teams in the event, namely AG2R-La Mondiale (France), Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan), BMC Racing Team (USA), Cannondale Pro Cycling (Italy), Garmin - Sharp (USA), Lampre-Merida (Italy), Lotto-Belisol (Belgium), Movistar Team (Spain), Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Belgium), Orica Greenedge (Australia) and Trek Factory Racing (USA).

The race begins on January 20th with a 164 kilometre stage running from San Luis to Villa Mercedes. This will be followed by finishes in Mirador del Potrero, Juana Koslay and the Altor del Amago, a 19.2 kilometre time trial in San Luis, plus two further road race stages to Merlo/Mirador del Sol and Terrazas del PorteZuelo.

In all there will be 1,030.8 kilometres of racing, including three summit finishes.

Tour de San Luis (2.1):

Stage 1, January 20: San Luis to Villa Mercedes, 164 km
Stage 2, January 21: La Punta to Mirador del Potrero, 170.6 km
Stage 3, January 22: Tilisarao to Juana Koslay, 175.8 km
Stage 4, January 23: El Potrero de los Funes to Alto del Amago, 168.7 km
Stage 5, January 24: Sal Luis to San Luis CRI, 19.2 km
Stage 6, January 25: Las Chacras to Merlo (Mirador del Sol) 184.4 km
Stage 7, January 26: San Luis to Terrazas del Portezuelo, 148.1 km



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