Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) has confirmed that he will focus on the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in 2015. Rodríguez rode all three Grand Tours this season, in an attempt to find his form after a tough spring campaign. He had intended on returning to the Giro d’Italia next year, but the draw of the Tour de France route proved too much for him.
“I was thinking I would do the Giro and the Vuelta but with this Tour, in the end I will go to the Tour and the Vuelta,” he explained Spanish newspaper AS. “I like it [the Tour] a lot but it is very risky. If nothing happens, I will be there. It will be a Tour for climbers. If you told me to organise it, I could not have done better, because it is hard and has a small time trial. I think that maybe they’ve even done me a favour.”
Rodríguez suffered two heavy falls early this season at the Amstel Gold Race and the Giro d'Italia, which resulted in three broken ribs and a broken finger. The crashes left him scrambling for form and results, and he opted to ride the Tour de France in an attempt to find it. The Katusha rider battled with Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) for the mountains classification but faded in the final week, allowing Majka to take it from him. Rodríguez thinks that his haste to come back from his injury had an adverse effect on his performance.
"Perhaps [it was] more than bad,” Rodríguez said of 2014. “It has been the hardest. It would be bad if it had not worked out. I think we've done everything right but I had a lot of bad luck in the crashes and in wanting to rush back into racing. Perhaps by being too eager, both me and the team, this led to missing some good results."
Despite a season that only yielded one victory at the Volta a Catalunya and saw him abandon a Grand Tour for the first time, Rodríguez is determined not to make any changes to his preparation. “The early season will be more or less like it was last year. After Liege-Bastogne-Liege, I will rest and after that I will start with the Dauphiné or Switzerland, I still haven’t decided. In February or March I will go to Teide, which is the only place that you can train at that time.
“[I will] approach it with the same enthusiasm as always. I repeat that 2014 wasn’t a bad year for work and the sensations were good, although I was missing some power... I won’t change anything about my training and my work, I won’t reinvent now.”
Next season is the last of Rodriguez's current contract with Katusha. He joined the Russian team in 2010 after spending several years in the service of Alejandro Valverde at Caisse d’Erpargne. The Spaniard says that he is keen to remain with them for the near future.
"It's true that I have just this year [on my contract], but I am relaxed because the team and I also want to continue together. Not that I'll stay around too long, a couple of years at most, but the relationship with Katusha is pretty good."