Road

‘Purito’ now wants to win Lombardia

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.

While many riders go on vacation after worlds, Joaquin Rodriguez still has a heavy schedule ahead.

While many riders go on vacation after worlds, Joaquin Rodriguez still has a heavy schedule ahead.

Photo: Graham Watson

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.