Joaquim Rodriguez has decided to concentrate on the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana this year, and let the Tour de France go. The Katusha rider, who last year won the International Cycling Union's ProTour ranking, said he had to be realistic in his goals.
The Giro and Vuelta courses, “are more suited to my characteristics, as the climbs are more explosive and very good for me," he said on his personal website.
“This year we had to select the schedule and while the Tour is very nice, I must be realistic and recognise that I am not going to win the Tour, but that I can win either of the other two.”
In 2010, Rodriguez finished fourth overall in the Vuelta and eighth in the Tour. He did not ride the Giro last year. He has ridden it four times, with his highest finish being 17th in 2008.
Rodriguez is starting his season today in the Tour of Oman, which will be followed by the Tour of the Basque Country and the Ardennes Classics. “I want to win one of the three 'greats' – Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.”
The main problem for the 31-year-old is his time trialing. He lost the lead in the Vuelta last September with a poor performance in the 17th stage time trial, finishing over six minutes down and falling off the podium.
"I know it is not very difficult, but I'm not going to jeopardize other aspects to gain a lot of time against the clock. I will focus on my work in the mountains. Explosiveness is my forte.”