After crashing out of the Giro d’Italia, Joaquim Rodriguez will ride the Tour de France, Katusha sports director Dimitri Konyshev has told Spanish sports daily AS. However the Catalan veteran will be racing with radically different objectives compared to 2013 when he finished third overall, targeting stage victories as he uses the Tour to build his form for the Vuelta a España.
“We don’t want him taking any risks,” Konyshev told AS on Wednesday. “If he loses 20 minutes in the early stages, then so much the better, because then he’ll have more room to manoeuvre and it’ll be easier for him to take a stage win.”
The main objective is for Rodriguez to use the Tour as a way of building his form for the Vuelta -his main objective of the remainder of the season and in which he finished fourth overall in 2013 and third in 2012.
“We had no choice but to change plans after he fell [and was injured, breaking three ribs and a finger] in the Giro d’Italia. There aren’t many races apart from the Tour in the build-up to the Vuelta and Joaquim can’t be resting up for such a long time,” Konychev explanied.
Rodriguez will also race the Clásica de San Sebastian and perhaps the Vuelta a Burgos prior to the Vuelta, which starts on August 23rd in Jerez de la Frontera.
For a top contender in the Vuelta to ride the Tour as preparation for September is rare but not totally unheard of. The most recent case was in 2012 when Juan Jose Cobo took part in the Tour de France that year as a way of building his form to defend his 2011 Vuelta title. However his training after July was badly affected by an infected wisdom tooth, and after finishing 30th in the Tour, he finished 67th in the Vuelta.