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Rodriguez dynamites final Vuelta a Espana stage in Pyrenees

By:
Alasdair Fotheringham
Published:
September 9, 2013, 20:30,
Updated:
September 9, 2013, 22:04
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Race:
Vuelta a España, Stage 16
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) went on the attack

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) went on the attack

  • Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) went on the attack
  • Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
  • Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) rides away

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Explosive Spaniard gains 28 seconds on Nibali

Veteran Joaquim "Purito" Rodriguez (Katusha) is well known for his explosive uphill attacks, and even if Formigal's grinding, long slopes were hardly the best terrain for it, the Spaniard lit the fuse when he made the first of the blizzard of attacks that put race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in trouble for the first time on the 2013 Vuelta a Espana.

"Of the three days in the Pyrenees, this was the stage that suited me the least, and the time I've got back is very little," said Rodriguez, whose time gain of 28 seconds on today's stage 16 nonetheless put him at 2:29 down overall.

"It almost, almost, doesn't really count, but at least today I've seen the sun shine a little."

Asked why he thought Nibali had cracked, Rodriguez said, "That's easy, it was a really hard stage, very fast, and way ahead of the fastest time anybody expected." Even though this was a mountain stage where maximum pre-race estimates were of 38kph, the stage finally averaged 39.406kph, with the first two hours averaging 46kph and 44kph.) "You could see it in everybody's faces, we're all tired."

When it was repeated to him that the stage was never expected to produce attacks of that ferocity on the leader, Rodriguez said "Well, in cycling two and two don't make four. "Astana, too, had their work cut out, he pointed out. "The whole stage was crazy, groups of 15 to 20 riders breaking away. It was very difficult to control, and this wasn't the third day in the mountains" - always supposed to be the one where riders run into severe difficulties - "it was the fourth day in the mountains if you include the stage to Castelldefels, which was really hard.The whole race this year is exhausting. We're all really tired."

He was very doubtful, too, that Nibali would finally crack completely. "If this was his bad day, then there's nothing doing. He's really strong, very tough and he's won on really hard climbs, like the ones there are to come in Asturias."

Asked if someone could "do a Fuente Dé" - which is now Spanish cycling shorthand for attacking like Contador did last year on the climb to Fuente De, turning the race around in the most unexpected of fashions - Rodriguez grinned a shade bitterly, given that he lost the race lead that day to Contador and replied, "Here we go again with Fuente Dé. In fact, my own objective is to win on the Angliru."

kdayfranceusa More than 1 year ago
This is really a great race. It's the best race of the year in terms of suspense. Nibali dominated the Giro. Froome dominated the Tour. But the dynamics between Nibali, Horner, Valverde and Rodriguez is making for exciting racing. Purito makes for great racing the way he attacks. No doubt he's the best current rider that has not won a grand tour. I don't think he'll do it this time, but he sure deserves to sometime. Too bad he just is too small to time trial well.
mandeep gulati More than 1 year ago
Having the top 6 within 4 minutes can do that to any race. Very close indeed and anyone having a bad day (or even a bad moment) can totally change the race. Nibali did well to hold on that lead. If the rest had some more distance to cover, Nibali might have been in trouble. And on top of that the race has been well animated by various attacks from the top 10 guys. Much more exciting than the boring trains. A hard day to pass today, can't wait for more thrilling action in the last week.
Rhapsody More than 1 year ago
Rodriguez gained back almost 1/6th of the time he needs in order to win and it was on a stage that wasn't ideal for him. He still has a chance of winning. I'm so looking forward to the Angliru. Go, Purito!!!
Dan Vella More than 1 year ago
Go Purito!
Christopher Clarke More than 1 year ago
It's still all to play for, with Angliru being the mountain where it will be decided. I wonder if the fact that Angliru is so hard, the time gaps will be so small for the favourites (riding mano-a-mano) that nothing much will change. Bit brave of JRod to announce he wants to win that stage already. I think Horner & Pozzovivo might have other ideas.
Ex Patria More than 1 year ago
Yet again Joaquim Rodríguez Oliver proved that currently he's the world's best uphill finisher in a Grand Tour! (Very much threatened by Nairo Alexandra Quintana Rojas, but we still have wait and see that.) And indeed, his announcement about the Angliru is hardly surprising at all - quite the contrary, he only confirms what we already knew. VENGA PURITO VENGA VENGA!!!!