Joaquim Rodriguez looks to vacation after two stage wins at Dauphine

Joaquim Rodríguez is looking forward to a well-earned vacation after a busy first half of the 2011 season capped by two stage victories at the Criterium du Dauphiné.

2011 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, stage 6: Rodriguez wins
Rodriguez gets the stage win on Sunday. Photo: Graham Watson

Rodríguez won stages 6 and 7, as well as the points and mountain classifications, en route to fifth overall in what for many is a major warmup for the Tour de France.

“Purito,” however, will be taking a break after a busy spring campaign that saw him ride to fifth in the Giro d’Italia.

“I won’t even think about racing for the next 10 days,” Rodríguez said. “All I want to do now is recover the strength I’ve spent during the past few months of intense competition.”

While Rodríguez consistently smokes the competition in the climbs, he continues to be hampered in the time trials. Last year, he lost more than six minutes in Vuelta time trials and gave up any chance of winning the overall.

At the Dauphine, he lost nearly four minutes against the specialists and fell out of contention. He knows he will have to try to improve in the TT if he has any hope of winning a grand tour.

“The only stain during the week was time trial. With a course at 42km, it’s obvious that I am going to suffer,” Rodríguez said. “If I hadn’t lost so much time in Grenoble, I would have been fighting for the overall. When I am in the mountains, I show that I among the most agile in the bunch.”

The Dauphiné caps an impressive first half of the 2011 season, with a win at the Tour of the Basque Country in April before finishing second to the unstoppable Philippe Gilbert at Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne.

After stumbling out of the gates at the Giro, he hit his stride late in the race to ended up fifth in Milano, good enough for his fifth top-10 grand tour finish since 2008.

Rodriguez has been sixth, seventh and fourth at the past three Vueltas, eighth in last year’s Tour and fifth in the Giro.

After a break, he will take aim for the Vuelta, where he hopes to at least finish on the final podium.