Paris-Nice: Rodriguez to keep trying after yesterday's second place
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paris-Nice: Rodriguez to keep trying after yesterday's second place

by Conal Andrews at 6:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice

World road race championship bronze medallist Joaquim Rodriguez has said that he will continue chasing a stage victory in this year’s Paris-Nice, having finished second on yesterday’s stage to Aurillac.

The Spanish Katusha rider was one of only five who could answer an attack by Ireland’s Nicolas Roche on the day’s final climb, the Côte de la Martinie, and fought it out for the stage win just over three kilometres later. However first year professional Peter Sagan (Liquigas) proved a bit too fast in the finishing sprint.

“This morning I told my team-mate Horrach that I liked the final and would try to win,” he said, according to “But I could not do anything against the Slovakian [Sagan], he rode really strongly.”

Rodriguez showed his explosiveness when he twice won the Montelupone stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. In 2008 and again in 2009, he dropped the other big names on the wall-like ascent, but gave the race a miss this year when it became clear that the climb would not feature.

That sort of uphill ability would normally mark him out as a potential stage winner on today’s race to the summit finish of Mende, but the presence of the Tour de France champion makes him think it will not be possible.

“Tomorrow I will get it hard when I need to follow Contador’s pace,” he said yesterday. “Saturday’s stage is the one which is best for me and where I will try again. I think I have as good a chance as the others to finish on the podium in this race.”

The 30 year old moved from Caisse d’Epargne to Katusha over the winter, and joins Filippo Pozzato and Kim Kirchen as the Russian team’s riders for the Classics. He has been happy with how things went in the buildup to the season, and also in relation to his efforts to improve against the clock.

“In the prologue, I tested myself and got a good result. I have trained on a bicycle track in Palma with Joan Llaneras and his team, and we improved my position on the bike a lot. Now I sit much more aerodynamically.”

Rodriguez is currently ninth overall in Paris-Nice, 28 seconds behind the new race leader Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank). His climbing abilities mean that he should be able to improve his GC position in the days ahead.


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