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Joaquim 'purito' Rodriguez lights a cigar during the roll-out from Versailles
Spaniard chasing victory after three Grand Tour podiums
Joaquim Rodriguez will be the team leader at Katusha at the upcoming Vuelta a Espana. The Spaniard has been on the podium of his last three Grand Tours, but is still looking for his first overall title.
Rodriguez finished second in last year's Giro d'Italia and third in both the 2012 Vuelta and 2013 Tour de France.The Vuelta opens on Saturday with a team time trial. It also has 13 mountain stages and a mountainous individual time trial.
Rodriguez will be supported in Spain by Giampaolo Caruso, Vladimir Gusev, Vladimir Isaychev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Luca Paolini and Angel Vicioso. The team includes a mix of talent and experience that is suited to the hilly parcours.
The Spaniard, who last year topped uhe UCI WorldTour rider rankings thanks to his consistency, has only two wins to his name this season: at the Tour of Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico. However, he has secured top three finishes at the Tour de France, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Volta a Catalunya.