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Joaquím “Purito” Rodríguez is ending his successful 2010 season with a bittersweet taste in his mouth.
The Catalan rider enjoyed a breakout season in 2010, winning a stage and finishing in the top-10 at both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, but Rodríguez admits that he was disappointed to miss out on the podium after his disastrous time trial at Peñafiel.
“I am very happy with the season, but have a little bitterness about not making the final podium in the Vuelta,” he said. “I was very good during the Vuelta, and it was a great season, but it would have been fantastic to finish it off with a spot on the final podium.”
Rodríguez was leading the Vuelta going into the long, 46km time trial, but suffered on the windy, flat course, plummeting out of podium contention after losing more than six minutes to stage-winner Peter Velits, who climbed into third overall.
Rodríguez says he has already booked time in a wind tunnel for some off-season work that he hopes will erase his major deficiency as he takes aim at a podium finish next year in one of the major tours.
He takes some consolation in taking over the No. 1 spot in the UCI rankings from compatriot Alberto Contador and will win the classification for the 2010 campaign.
“To win the UCI classification is very difficult because you have to be at 100 percent all year long,” he said after putting in 82 racing days this season. “This will help me take a place in cycling history. Next year I will study the routes of the grand tours and pick the one that is best-suited for me and give the maximum.”
Rodríguez also skipped out on a spot on the Spanish world’s team despite taking bronze last year Mendrisio. He said he consulted with the national coach and they mutually decided the Melbourne course was not ideal for his characteristics.