Emboldened by his bronze medal at last weekend’s world championship, Spanish rider Joaquím Rodríguez now wants to win the Giro di Lombardia.
Called “Purito” within the peloton, the pint-sized puncheur still has a full racing calendar, with scheduled starts at Paris-Bourges, Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte, Giro di Lombardia and the Japan Cup.
That heavy end-of-season schedule means there’s no time for celebrating a well-deserved worlds medal that helped save the honor for the heavily-favored Spanish team.
“I’ve been training every day since the worlds because I have a lot of upcoming races,” Rodríguez said during a roast. “I don’t want to lose my form and we’ll see if I can give some joy to the fans and my team in these last events of the season.”
The 30-year-old Catalan rider enjoyed a breakout season in 2009, with stage victories at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta a Burgos, seventh overall at the Vuelta a España, second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and bronze at the world championships.
Injury forced him to abandon the Giro d’Italia and he was overlooked yet again for a spot on Caisse d’Epargne’s Tour de France team.
Rodríguez will get more chances to shine in 2010 as he moves to the Russian-backed Katusha team. He’s hoping to get more protection as a GC rider and finally get the chance to start the Tour.