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Ekimov: No Tour de France for Joaquim Rodríguez

José Been
December 11, 2013, 15:40,
December 12, 2013, 15:27
Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) celebrates a stage win in the Vuelta

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) celebrates a stage win in the Vuelta

  • Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) celebrates a stage win in the Vuelta
  • Daniel Moreno (Katusha) on the podium
  • The Lombardia podium with Majka, Rodriguez and Valverde
  • Viatcheslav Ekimov addresses the crowd in Brescia.

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Giro-Vuelta double instead for Spaniard in 2014

Viatcheslav Ekimov does not want Katusha's team captain Joaquim Rodríguez to ride the Tour de France next season, but the Spaniard will have his opportunities to shine in the Italian and Spanish Grand Tours. "The course does not suit Purito. The route in the north of France is the same as Paris-Roubaix and it's not suitable for him." Rodríguez will focus instead on the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. "We will aim for the overall classification in those races," Ekimov told R-sport.

The objectives for Katusha in the Tour de France change from riding for the overall classification to hunting stage wins. "If we go to France without Purito, this creates chances for other riders," said Ekimov. "We will try to win stages and emphasize the green jersey classification [with Alexander Kristoff]. He will get two men to help him in the sprint. And we will have several riders with a free role to go for stage wins." 

Katusha had its first team training camp of the season and the initial race programmes are drawn. "Everything is going well. We have all our equipment and 90% of the races are confirmed for next season. Now the race programmes are prepared and they will only be changed if the situation requires it."

Rodríguez's main target will be the Giro d'Italia. He'll contest the Ardennes Classics but will skip the Tour de Romandie in order to do a training session in the Alps. "We will fight for the top places in the overall in those two races: Giro and Vuelta."

Katusha has two winners of this year's Classics on board with Dani Moreno (Flèche Wallonne) and Rodríguez (Il Lombardia). The two Spaniards have been on the same team since 2008 with the exception of 2010 when Moreno rode with Omega Pharma-Lotto. "We plan on separating Purito and Dani Moreno more," Ekimov said of the Spanish duo. "We think Moreno can be a team captain himself but it will hard to separate them. Moreno has to learn he can do well without Joaquim."

Moreno and Rodríguez will be important riders in the Spanish World Championship team, but Katusha hopes that their Russian riders will step up as well. "Just like Alexandre Kolobnev," said Ekimov. "The Worlds will be an important goal for 2014. We will build his season around the race in Ponferrada.

"We are a Russian team and want to keep investing in our national riders. The foreign riders do their job and they earn points to keep us in the WorldTour but we want to see that Katusha grows in popularity in Russia itself. We want to make our project more interesting for young [domestic] riders."

While Joaquim Rodríguez has been linked to Fernando Alonso's team for 2015, Ekimov downplays the speculation. "I don't know where that rumor comes from," Ekimov said. "Well maybe because he was on the race track with Alonso and Peter Sagan. But Rodríguez himself is not thinking about it. He still has a contract [for 2014 and 2015]."

Just like Ekimov expressed earlier, he hopes to see his friend Denis Menchov join Katusha. "Denis is on a sabbatical [after he ended his career earlier this year]. He is now working at a local bike school with young riders as a trainer and consultant. He needs to feel wanted and needed in order not to get lost. Let's see what happens in the foreseeable future to see what opportunities we can give him to share his experience with the younger generations."


GuyIncognito 11 months ago
Smart call
kevinzamora 11 months ago
For sure, and that's what the Schlecks should've done in the past at least once.
Cance > TheRest 11 months ago
Thats very easy to say after Andy had his decline in 2012. I respect the Schlecks for wanting to win the most prestigious race in the world in the yars 2009-2011. If you would've like a boring TDF all these years, I see your point, but the Schlecks got very close to winning the TDF in this periode, so why not aim for the stars if you were actually quite close to reaching them?
Mr Edward 11 months ago
Andy Schleck is a Tour winner....
Dedelou 11 months ago
He knows he is not yet one. Like the people who did not win the seven vacated Tour de France titles
taborpolkadots 11 months ago
Spot on! But, if all the pure climbers choose the Giro and Vuelta over the Tour, will the tour still be the Grande Boucle? Purito, Piti, Uran, Quintana, Betancur, Basso, Scarponi, Martin, Schlecks, etc. would all be better served to avoid the time trials and relatively easier grades of the TDF. This leaves a fairly empty TDF roster.
meals-on-wheels 11 months ago
Ekimov's reason for Purito's non participation in the Tour is thin to say the least. He basically writes off the parcours for him based on one day on the cobbles. That aside the course has five summit finishes (one more than this year), three consecutive days in the Pyrenees in the final week, and only one time trial. That's not a bad course for Purito. That said, with Nibali targeting the Tour alongside Froome, the Giro-Vuelta option offers him a better chance of overall vctory - I hope he finally does it.
samaway 11 months ago
Not quite—the long ITT in the Tour is really bad news for Putiro, a rider who has lost at least two Grand Tour's in the final ITT in the past...
Axiom7 11 months ago
Anyone else be a little worried about Ekimov asking Menchov "to share his experience with the younger generations"?
JackSpoke 11 months ago
Actually no. Why not assume that they want to be part of the new cycling and want to teach new riders not to dope like they did. This would be an optimistic view of the world. And it is good strategy in my view. Much like someone hiring the hacker that got into your computer system - you have him in your team and you get him off the market. It happens all the time by corporations and the government.
GoatHerd 11 months ago
So it`s not just the British fans that think that Froome + Sky will be dominating the Tour in the next few years. Quintana & Rodriguez have opted out already. Who`s next?
PavsWheels 11 months ago
Right? My first reaction to this article was "well, the Tour just got less interesting, again". Will the only drama be internal Sky drama?
deemfingtee 11 months ago
cothercott 11 months ago
Nibali, Contador, the Schlecks, Uran at QuickStep ...
FabiquesAnquetillara 11 months ago
Tour is not as exciting for fans as other grand tour anyway. there are hardly any stages where one team just controls whole stage from start to finish at Giro or Vuelta, sadly in modern Tour, most stages are like that, there is so much waiting and waiting at Tour. if you add lack of top participants (see about of all the list of top GC guys that will skip TdF) what is left? it is still gonna be the top race? questionable at least. is it good? questionable at least.
Lightening Toke 11 months ago
Speak for yourself. I find the Tour more exciting than the other two for a variety of reasons.
FabiquesAnquetillara 11 months ago
I do. You are fool if you think I spoke for you.
cothercott 11 months ago
They are very different races - the Vuelta has improved enormously over the last few years but certainly doesn't have the roadside atmosphere of the Tour. It suits a particular kind of rider and winning it is a huge achievement. The Giro always has a hard parcours plus the chance of harsh weather. Another fantastic race and probably deserves the same media exposure as the Tour. So why is the Tour seen as the pinnacle? History, marketing and media exposure as much as the physical challenge. But it's the status of the race that means dominant teams leave as little to chance as possible and make it their main effort for the year. That means that often the race is less open than the others. But I can't see it losing its status or appeal any time soon. It's up to the organisers of the other grand tours to change that!
Piratasise 11 months ago
Riders make a race exciting , not the route... I'm italian but the tour is the most important race in the world, than giro than vuleta
DirtyWorks 11 months ago
I'm not disagreeing with you, but Il Giro is a far more tactical race where even the rider with the most power over the three weeks can lose the race. RCS does an excellent job making the race about more than just a power meter contest. 2014 TdF won't be very interesting. The top-2 podium spots are already known, Froome/Porte. Will tune in for the Northern stages as the parcourse could add some challenge.
Dedelou 11 months ago
I think at least over 45 millions people have a different opinion than you. I like every effort to build up the other two grand tours but they still come short in magnitude and meaning for the pro cyclists and most of the fans worldwide. Ideally all top cyclists should attempt to compete in all of them. Single Tours winners generally fail to be remember as great unless they have won all three at least once
Piratasise 11 months ago
Good Idea, Tour is not a race for Purito, too long crono. I Think, that he has good change to win the Giro...
VeloVick 11 months ago
Don’t like a healthy Rodriquez or Quintana not riding the tour. No disrespect to the Giro or Vuelta, but the Tour is by far the biggest, most recognizable event of the year and this year’s winner will not be up against all of the best competition. When you consider the damage that has been done to the sport this year, I think that the top 10 in the UCI rankings and the top 10 from last year’s tour should be required to commit to two of the three grand tours every year. The must race in the Tour, plus either the Giro or the Vuelta, regardless of if they think the course “suits” them or not. They should make that agreement compulsory to obtain your UCI license. And Eff Ekimov - he was a doper!