Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez, double stage-winner at this year’s Tour de France, and Katusha announced Tuesday that the Spanish rider has extended his contract with the team through the 2016 season.
“How could I make the choice not to continue with my current team,” Rodríguez, a podium finisher in all three grand tours said. “Our climbers as well as our sprinters, we are all in the winning mood already a year-long.”
Rodríguez, 36, has had a strong season by most measures. He won the Tour of the Basque Country in April and finished third in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His win on stage 3 atop the Mur de Huy came as no surprise — he won the Ardennes classic Flèche Wallonne atop the same climb back in 2012. He backed up that result by winning the stage 12 summit finish to Plateau de Beille, an hour’s drive from his home in Spain.
“Despite his age, Joaquim Rodríguez still delivers,” general manager, Viacheslav Ekimov, said. “We don’t see any regression in his results or attitude.”
Rodríguez has had a stellar career. He has won the overall, season-long UCI points series three times and has 13 grand tour stages wins to his credit. A win in the general classification of a grand tour still eludes him, but his energy and excitement remains.
“The atmosphere never has been better than this season. It was my dream to go on with Team Katusha, with my current teammates and current staff,” Rodríguez said. “For me it was a logical choice. We decided already a while ago to continue our relationship but in the end, it always takes awhile to finalize the contract.”
The next four stages in the Alps suit Rodriguez and now with a contract for next year his mindset is fully focused on winning. “I am happy I could sign on this rest day. Worry-free I can now tackle the final week of the Tour de France,” the climber said.
Look for the climber to hop into the breakaway to not only try to claim another stage win, but also try to take the king of the mountains jersey. He currently sits second in that classification, nine points behind yellow jersey Chris Froome (Sky).
The team also announced during the rest day that Sven Erik Bystrøm, current under-23 world champion, also extended his contract with the team. Bystrøm secured seventh in the Norwegian national road championships, helping teammate Alexander Kristoff to the win.
“It is so fun for me to be in this team and have all of these victories,” the world champion said. “I can grow a lot in cycling and I am convinced this will happen with this group. Team Katusha is not pushing me — they give me the necessary time to evolve, I am still living a dream.”