The stage 13 Tour de France time trial proved to be a mixed bag for Joaquim 'Purito' Rodríguez and Katusha with the Spaniard suffering in the wind affected parcours to finish 3:43 minutes down on yellow jersey Chris Froome and 4:46 minutes on stage winner Tom Dumoulin. The result dropped the 37-year-old from tenth to 13th while teammate Ilnur Zakarin improved from 37th to 33rd having finished in 19th place.
Sports director José Azevedo explained that having assessed the stage, he found more benefits than negatives in the results of Rodríguez and Zakarin.
"Purito is no TT specialist and a light rider but the course was good for him and he felt good," said Azevedo. "He lost time on some riders and gained on some others. He ended up 40-seconds away from top ten. So all is possible.
"Also for Zakarin, who did a good TT, possibilities will come. Don't forget how far Ilnur has come," he added of the 26-year-old who is making his Tour debut. "Every day he's better and his condition is growing. We will go for a good last Tour week!"
Azevedo told Cyclingnews on Bastille Day that the 2013 third place finisher Rodríguez would look for stage wins in the Alps during the third week and considering he is almost six minutes down on Froome, he hopes he will be given the freedom to attack to do so.
"Plus because of his time difference with Froome there is maybe now possibility to go for stage win in the last week," he added of the team aims for the third week.
- Tour de France: Dumoulin wins stage 13 time trial in Pont-d'Arc
- Tour de France stage 13 highlights - Video
- Tour de France stage 13 – Finish line quotes
As one of the smaller and lighter riders in the peloton, Rodríguez's time trial was made harder by the strong winds which featured across the 37.5km parcours. While he remained upright, unlike the likes of Edward Theuns who crashed heavily and fractured a vertebra, Rodríguez explained he found it a demanding day in the saddle.
"Honestly it was difficult for me on the bike today. I suffered in the wind. On the flat and the descent it was hard for me to put power on the pedals. My force went to keep equilibrium. This was the third day with wind and that's not to my advantage. With my 58 kilos, it was dangerous," said the 1.69m tall Rodriguez.
While stage 14 is one expected to suit the sprinters, with Katusha's Alexander Kristoff looking to challenge for line honours, stage 15 could see Rodriguez on the attack as the peloton tackles the HC rated Grand Colombier category 1 Lacets du Grand Colombier climbs before the finish in Culoz.