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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
Defending champion to heal knee problem first
Katusha rider Joaquim Rodríguez has announced that he will skip the Volta a Catalunya, starting March 21. The 2010 winner of the Spanish stage race is suffering from a cyst at the top of his left femur and has to take anti-inflammatory drugs.
Rodríguez felt the injury building up before Tirreno-Adriatico. "First, I felt discomfort and then the pain increased gradually," he told AS. "Two weeks ago I saw Dr. Casañas in the Teknon Clinic of Barcelona. X-rays showed that there was something and an MRI scan confirmed the cyst."
The anti-inflammatory drugs with which 'Purito' is being treated have reduced the cyst and stopped the pain, but side-effects include water retention. In Tirreno-Adriatico, Rodríguez said that he already was three kilos above his normal weight.
"On the longer climbs, I was able to follow the best at a regular pace, but on the short, steep sections my legs exploded and I couldn't perform. As I wasn't able to compete properly, I took the race as preparation, high-quality training," he continued.
The Spaniard, winner of the 2010 UCI ranking, was deeply disappointed not to take part in Catalunya. "I was very eager to try and defend my 2010 victory, but under these circumstances and following the advice of my doctors, it makes more sense to continue training and taking my medication until next week."
Rodríguez is aiming to return to competition in the beginning of April at the Gran Premio Indurain, followed by the Tour of the Basque Country.