After losing over two minutes to Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on Etna, Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Katusha) bounced back as a protagonist with second place behind John Gadret in Castelfidardo on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia.
“I’ve been close,” the Katusha rider told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 12. “But I really thought that my teammate Daniel Moreno who was away would stay up front for the stage win, so I didn’t focus on the possibility of a stage win for myself. In the morning, I was convinced that a breakaway would make it. I knew the finish, we did it at Tirreno-Adriatico in 2008. But I’ve made a mistake, I should have followed Gadret when he attacked. I had the legs for that.”
Laying in 18th position, 3.22 down on his compatriot in pink, Rodriguez ruled out early conclusions that he wasn’t one of Contador’s most fearful challengers like at the start of the Giro in Turin.
“I only had a bad day on the Etna”, the Catalan rider said.
“But my ideas remain the same. It’s not like if I had lost ten minutes on the Etna. I’m still not far behind and I’m excited by the coming stages, starting from tomorrow’s on the Grossglockner.”
Unlike Contador, Rodriguez didn’t go and reconnoitre the routes of the triple assault Grossglockner, Zoncolan and Gardeccia. “Maybe it’s better that I didn’t see them because Contador didn’t see the Etna and look at what he did!”, he said, with his legendary large smile. “I wouldn’t mind to exchange positions with him though…”