Rodríguez switches his focus to stage wins

Spaniard 20 minutes down on GC, all but signed with Katyusha for 2016

Joaquim Rodríguez came into the Tour de France not as an out and out favourite, but with perhaps the best Grand Tour pedigree outside the so-called ‘Fab Four’.

The Spaniard has won stages in the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España and has no fewer than ten top-10 overall finishes, three of them podiums. However, after two days in the Pyrenees he has renounced all hope of a high GC placing in this Tour de France and will instead switch his focus to going for another stage win to go with his victory on the Mur de Huy on stage 3

Rodríguez was almost four minutes down on the race lead going into the rest day, a long way off Froome but still mixing it with other riders going for the top ten.

However, he shelled over six minutes on the first summit finish of the race at La Pierre-Saint-Martin and, after a crash in the neutral zone, was dropped on the Col du Tourmalet on Wednesday, losing a further 10 minutes by the finish in Cauterets.

“I crashed in the neutral zone, and came down pretty hard,” he told AS. “I thought it would be nothing but my legs didn’t feel at all good.

“I have to recuperate and go back to trying to take it easy to get back to 100 per cent. I have to take advantage of the few chances that remain.”

Rodríguez, who turned 36 in May, also gave an update on his future, saying he has all but signed a one-year extension with Katusha.

Viatcheslav Ekimov, the boss of the Russian outfit, recently told Cyclingnews that Rodríguez would sign on a one-year deal but terms and conditions were still being ironed out. The team doesn’t have a concrete sponsorship structure in place for next year but has a verbal two-year extension agreement in place with Katusha.

“A week ago the team and I said yes, the only thing left to do is sign,” said Rodríguez.


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