José Rujano: I’m the third-best climber in the world, and I’ll win the Giro
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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Rujano: I’m the third-best climber in the world, and I’ll win the Giro

by Conal Andrews at 7:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 

It’s been five years since he won a stage, took the mountains classification and finished on the podium in the Giro d’Italia, yet Jose Rujano is extremely upbeat about his abilities.

“Right now I think I am the third climber in the world after Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez,” he bragged to the Venezuelan newspaper Entorno Inteligente, according to Tuttobici. “Armstrong and Andy Schleck? They are strong on the uphills, but they are not natural climbers.”

Rujano exploded onto the scene in 2005 when, as a 23-year-old, he stunned the peloton by finishing third overall in the Giro. He moved to the Quick Step team in 2006 but had a forgettable year, and also failed to shine while with Unibet in 2007.

The following season he raced with Caisse d’Epargne and finished sixth overall in the Deutschland Tour. However that wasn’t enough for him to stay with the team and he competed with the small Venezuelan Gobernación del Zulia team in 2009.

Rujano has been signed up by the ISD team for the 2010 season and is determined to once again shine in the roads of Europe.

“I can not go to the Tour of Italy just to take part,” he said. “I'm going to win it. I’m mature enough to do it and I thank the ISD team that has given me the opportunity to repeat the preparation that I had followed in 2005, when I came third in the Giro.”

Last year, Rujano had a good season in South America, winning the Vuelta a Venezula and Vuelta a Columbia and also becoming the national TT champion. He also took three stages in the Vuelta al Táchira and plans to return to the race this month and improve on that.

“I’ll dispute the Vuelta al Tachira with the goal of winning it, but mainly to find my rhythm and be ready when I arrive in Europe,” he promised.

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