José Joaquín Rojas to return in Hamburg on the way to the World Championships
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Monday, August 8, 2011

José Joaquín Rojas to return in Hamburg on the way to the World Championships

by Ben Atkins at 4:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
Movistar sprinter taking time out after stressful Tour de France green jersey battle

jose joaquin rojasHaving taken some time off since the Tour de France, José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) is preparing to return to competition at the Vattenfall Cyclassics on August 21st. Eschewing his national Tour, the Vuelta a España, the Spanish champion will then concentrate on the big single-day races of the latter part of the season in the hope of making his first ever appearance at the elite World Championships.

Since the end of July, Rojas has spent a week on the beach at Mar Menor, in the company of his girlfriend, as he recovers from the Tour; he has not been entirely inactive however.

“I don’t know if you could really qualify it as a vacation,” he said, “because I barely stopped riding my bike for one day.”

While he never quite managed to take his first Tour stage – his best results being three third places on stages three, five and ten – Rojas managed to take the battle for the green points jersey right down to the wire. Despite taking five stages in the race, HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish only secured the competition on the final day in Paris.

The three-week battle, also with Omega Pharma’s Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert, has taken some recovering from.

“More than physically,” he explained. “You need to disseminate some of the pressure of the Tour. The fight for the green jersey was very intense within the team and I ended up really tired, especially mentally.”

In his career Rojas has represented Spain at the World Championships at both junior and under-23 level; so far though, he has not made his senior national team. As Spanish champion, runner-up in the Tour’s green jersey competition, and the top performing Spanish sprinter this season, Rojas feels that he should have his best ever chance of making national coach José Luis de Santos’ line up for the World championships.

Following the Hamburg WorldTour race, Rojas will ride the Grand Prix Ouest-France in Plouay, the GP de Québec and GP de Montréal in Canada on the way to what he hopes will be an appearance at the World Championships.

With the race in Copenhagen, Denmark, supposed to be the course best suited to the sprinters for many years, and with three-time World champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) having missed much of the season through sinus problems, Rojas could be the man to lead the Spanish team this time.

“I hope to finally win the confidence of the selectors this year,” said Rojas. “Taking account of the way I’ve maintained such a high level this season it would be normal for me to be on the team.

“If not,” he added, “I don’t know when I’ll go to the Worlds.”


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