By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish national champion Joaquim 'Purito' Rodríguez has already laid out his 2008 plans. In a press release, the Caisse d'Epargne rider announced he will focus on the Giro d'Italia, ProTour classics and the Olympic Games in Beijing. The winner of this year's Clásica de Ordizia and Klásika Primavera began the season with a strong 10th place overall in Paris-Nice, but did not ride any of the Grand Tours.
"This season has been good for me, except for not having gone to the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews, "but I had a great performance where I took part. To gain the national championship and to have been fighting in the classic races has been very important for me in 2007."
There was much speculation about Rodríguez' future after he was left off the Grand Tour squads, but he renewed with Caisse d'Epargne. "Eusebio Unzué wanted to focus on the Classics, and the truth is that I usually do well in those, but I also think that they are perfectly compatible with a three-weeks race", Rodríguez commented.
The Spaniard has already planned his calendar in 2008, and seemed satisfied. "I have discussed with Unzúe taking on the ProTour Classics again before the Giro, and later, to prepare in depth for the Olympics in Beijing because it is good for me." Rodríguez also referred to the proposed implementation by the UCI of a 'biological passport' saying that, "I agree with everything that is done for the good of the sport. In fact, I hope that we are not imposing anything until it is implemented widespread in all sports. If all the controls are done well in cycling, why not extend it to the entire sport... It would be better for everyone".