Rodriguez to compete in Lombardy after all, will mark world ranking victory there
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rodriguez to compete in Lombardy after all, will mark world ranking victory there

by Shane Stokes at 8:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia
 
Spanish rider was very fatigued after Vuelta a España

Joaquim RodriguezThe Spaniard Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez has decided to compete in this Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy, lining out in the end-of-season Classic to mark his victory in the UCI’s world ranking for 2010.

The Team Katusha rider had wound down his season after the Vuelta a España, where he led the race, won stage 14 to Peña Cabarga and finished up fourth overall. His near-collapse in the final time trial showed how tired he was after a long, successful year, and it was expected that he had finished racing for the season.

In fact, such was his physical and mental fatigue, Rodriguez passed up the chance to go to the world road race championships and try to improve upon the bronze medal he took twelve months ago in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

The 31 year old’s change of heart has come about after the urging of his Katusha team, who would clearly welcome the publicity that would be gained from having the world ranking leader there in the final scoring event of the season.

“I ended the Vuelta a España really tired after a very heavy season and with 82 days of competition in the legs,” he said, explaining why he had intended to stop before now. “I don’t know how I will be, because since the Vuelta I took a break with my family and my form dropped very quickly. I have gone out on my bike, but without much intensity. I will try to do as well as I can.”

If he does find he has good legs on the day, the newly modified course could suit him well. More climbing has been added, making the finale tougher and swinging things more in favour of explosive climbers such as Rodriguez.

He currently has a total of 551 points in the world ranking, considerably more than closest-rivals and compatriots Alberto Contador (Astana, 482) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne, 403). The top five places are rounded out by Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team, 390) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank, 369).

Last year’s Tour of Lombardy winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) will start Saturday’s race as the biggest favourite.

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