The rider known as ‘Purito’ might not be the most obvious choice as winner of the 2010 World Ranking, but his consistent top ten placings gave him the prize. His biggest wins were the Volta a Catalunya, a stage in the Tour de France, where he finished 8th overall and one in the Vuelta a España, where he finished fourth, and could have been higher. He had been leading the race until the final Time Trial, where he finished 4:18 down on eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali – and if he has any GC ambitions for 2011, he will have been focussing his efforts on improving time trial skills in the off-season.
He’s already said that although Katusha think he could win the Giro d’Italia in 2011, he’d prefer to focus on the Ardennes Classics – and despite the fact he came second in La Flèche Wallonne in 2010, he says his heart lies with Liège–Bastogne–Liège. What he’ll end up riding will ultimately be up to his team, but look for the diminutive climber in the mountains, the tough Classics, and all the Spanish stage races.