After strong performances in 2008, Joaquim Rodríguez has finally earned the confidence of his team and rolls into the Giro d’Italia as team leader for Caisse d’Epargne.
With four Giros under his belt, including 17th last year, he will carry the Caisse d’Epargne hopes into the season’s first grand tour.
“I hope to be up front in the GC and win a stage,” Rodríguez said. “That’s my objective, but in the Giro, the most important thing is to do well and enjoy being on the bike last year.”
Rodríguez is a strong climber who shines on the shorter, steep climbs typical of the hilltop finishes in the Giro. Rather than sacrifice everything for a top 10, Rodríguez said he’d rather try to win a big stage.
A promising sixth overall in last year’s Vuelta a España only fuels his confidence heading into the Giro.
“I never fought for the GC like I did last year in the Vuelta and, even though I never doubted it, I realized that it’s perfect for me,” he said. “I hope to be better than last year.”
Rodríguez pointed to Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego, Carlos Sastre, Danilo Di Luca and Levi Leipheimer as the favorites for victories and said the long time trial along the Cinque Terre coast will prove decisive.
“I think that it’s the centenary Giro they should have included more climbs in the Dolomites,” Rodríguez said. “I think that the Mortirolo, the Marmolada or San Pelegrino are the mythic climbs and they deserve to be in this edition so noteworthy. One stage that will prove decisive, without any doubt, is the 62km time trial.”
Caisse d’Epargne for the Giro d’Italia