By Antonio J. Salmerón
The modesty, perseverance and good sense of José Joaquín Rojas give a strong outline of the character of this young Spaniard. At the beginning of the 2006, Rojas made his debut in the Tour Down Under in Australia, after only a pair of seasons under the leadership of Juan González and the Liberty-Würth team. At only 20 years of age, the promising Spaniard made an rapid adaptation to the professional ranks, as could be seen in the Tirreno-Adriatico, where he won the mountains classification, as well as in the Three Days of de Panne, where he finished seventh.
"I will start the season in February with the Challenge Mallorca and the Vuelta a Valencia, but my presence in the Vuelta a Murcia is doubtful because to in order to race Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, it would be more convenient to race Tirreno-Adriatico and de Panne, in addition to the Criterium International", Rojas told Cyclingnews.
The peak of the season for Rojas will be his debut in the Giro of Italy. "I think agree with Eusebio Unzúe [his director -ed.] that the Giro could be the best race to escape the pressure of competing at home", the new Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider explained.
Rojas aims to continue his upward progression as a professional in 2007, and in order to do that, he is inclined "to continue polishing my better qualities". In this sense, many people consider him as a 'classics man', although he does not share that impression: "It is true that I planned to race in Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, and that I dream of someday winning one of them, but I also wish to be competing in short stage races".
The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider has still ample room to improve, and needs to choose his races wisely. He says, "It is fundamental to know which are your better qualities - and to guess correctly where I can do better than my rivals". Now, under Eusebio Unzúe's orders, but mainly, to be next to "magnificent riders such as Alejandro Valverde, Fran Perez and Luis León Sánchez", Rojas want to become the great cyclist he promises to be.