Rodríguez: “I will lose between two and three minutes in time trial.”

Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) has estimated that he could lose up to three minutes in Wednesday’s stage 11 time trial, but the leader of the Vuelta a España insists that he is better against the clock than when he lost the race to Vincenzo Nibali in the final time trial in 2010.

“I’m going to fight, I think I will lose between 2:30 and three minutes,” Rodríguez told Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

“This time trial isn’t as flat as the one [in 2010], it’s harder than we think. That time trial [in 2010] was one of the worst I did in my life.”

Rodríguez says he has worked a lot on his time trialling, although he admits “it was easy to improve on it.”

“I’m taking this Vuelta very calmly, day by day. It’s not like in previous years where I was over-thinking everything.

“Let’s see what happens in the time trial. We could end up all being very close overall. Or Froome or somebody could get two minutes and the party will be over.”

Rodríguez also pointed out in El Mundo that it had been a very intense first week - with four mountain top finishes so far - and that that could make for some very tired legs at the end of the race. “It’s going to be a long one.” However, he has every intention of stirring things up in the mountains of Asturias.

“That’s what I’ve prepared for. All of the training I’ve done has been for long days in the mountains, which is what we’re going to find on stages like Cuitu Negru [stage 16]. I can’t wait for that stage to arrive.”

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.