Rodríguez ready for Vuelta

Illes Balears' Joaquím Rodríguez is very optimistic for the last part of the season. Just over two...

Illes Balears' Joaquím Rodríguez is very optimistic for the last part of the season. Just over two weeks before the start of the Vuelta a España, the Deutschland Tour gave him the possibility to know where he stands.

"I came here especially to prepare for the Tour of Spain," he explained after the German ProTour stage race ended, in the town of Karlsruhe. "This Tour of Germany enabled me to work as I wished to do to find the shape which I still lacked, especially in the mountain stages. The race also enabled me to find the rhythm of the competition, which you can't do in training. The team left me free and respected my preparation without asking me to suffer with excess in any stage, except the ones in the mountains, of course, since climbing is my speciality."

Rodríguez, who started out fine in the season, had a little setback to overcome when he wasn't selected for the Tour de France in July. "I'm satisfied with my season until now, most of all with the job I did to help Alejandro Valverde at Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Romandy. Later on it is true that I was at first disappointed for not being selected for the Tour de France, but I immediately decided to concentrate on the last part of the season instead.

When asked if he was satisfied with his Deutschland Tour preparation, the Spaniard replied, "Yes, very satisfied indeed, because I feel physically very well. It is very important with the Vuelta being so close. I hope to be at the start in the shape it needs, and that Valverde will be at 100 percent again to be able to win it. For my part, I hope to be again the last man on who he can count in the final climbs of the mountain stages. Maybe I can also claim a stage victory..."

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