Joaquim Rodríguez will not defend title at Catalunya

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) will not line up Monday to defend his title at the Volta a Catalunya due to a nagging leg injury.

2010 Tour of Catalonia (Volta a Catalunya) overall winner, Joaquim Rodriguez
Rodriguez will not defend his 2010 title

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) will not line up Monday to defend his title at the Volta a Catalunya (Tour of Catalonia) due to a nagging leg injury.

Rodríguez is being treated with anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce a cyst that has formed at the top of his left femur, medication which he says caused him to balloon from his normal racing weight of 59 kilos to 62 as his body retained liquid during the Tirreno-Adriatico.

“At first I felt it some and then it started to hurt more and more. Two weeks before Tirreno I visited (a doctor) and they saw something in the X-rays and an MRI confirmed the existence of a cyst,” Rodríguez said Thursday. “On the longer climbs at a steady rhythm, I could stay with the best, but on the short, punchy climbs with steeper pitches, my legs would swell and I couldn’t ride at my normal level.”

Rodríguez, who calls Spain’s Catalunya region home, said he used Tirreno-Adriatico as “training,” but said he couldn’t be up to form for his home race.

“The decision to not start the Volta was not an easy one,” he said. “I was really excited about defending my title from last year, but in these circumstances and following the advice of my doctors, the smart thing to do is to keep taking my medication and follow my training program until next week.”

Rodríguez — who rides by the nickname “Purito” — said he will stay in Italy to train and return to competition on March 30 for the GP Indurain and then start the Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) in early April ahead of the Ardennes classics.