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Rodríguez closes four years with Caisse in Japan

Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne)

Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez will close four years with team Caisse d'Epargne at the Japan Cup on Sunday. Rodríguez, who will race with Katusha in 2010, is a favourite for the Japanese race after his third in the World Championships and will be out for revenge after a disappointing Giro di Lombardia last Saturday.

"It is the last race of the year and I'm not ruling anything out," he said. "I want to say good-bye to the team properly."

Rodríguez was a favourite for the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday, but suffered with stomach aches after he ate on the eve of the race. He spent the night in pain and woke up the next morning feeling ill.

He achieved his best result, 20th, in the Giro di Lombardia in 2004. Last year he placed 28th, but on Saturday he abandoned the 242-kilometre race before its finish in Como, Italy.

"I won't close my career at Caisse d'Epargne with an abandon. It is not my style."

The Japan Cup is in its 18th year and past winners have included Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni and Claudio Chiappucci. It is a challenging race that often decided on the Tsuru climb near the finish.

This season, Rodríguez won a stages at the Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta a Burgos, and finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

He signed a contract earlier this year to join Russian team Katusha for 2010.

Rodríguez will be joined at the Japan Cup by Caisse d'Epargne teammates: Imanol Erviti, Pablo Lastras, David López and Dani Moreno.

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