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Rodríguez sees Montelupone as sign for Ardennes week

By Gregor Brown in Castelfidardo

Joaquím Rodríguez's dominance on Tirreno-Adriatico's Montelupone came as a good omen for the upcoming Ardennes week of Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where the 28 year-old will work as co-captain with Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde. The Spanish Champion likened the climb, which touched gradients of 20 percent, to the finale of Flèche Wallonne.

"It was a very hard climb, like Mur de Huy," said Rodríguez. The Belgian climb of the Flèche Wallonne has gradients of 19 percent, where last year he finished 76th after helping Valverde to second. "The Montelupone was a lot like a one-day classic, above all, the Flèche Wallonne."

Rodríguez watched the race coverage on television after his win and noted the riders who were forced to walk up the climb. "The riders had to put their feet on the ground mostly because of the motorcyclist that went down," he said.

After Tirreno, Rodríguez will head back to Spain before the Ardennes week. "I will go to País Vasco, I need to see which stages I will take my chances on," he said. "My form is good, I think that my moment will arrive this April."

Following Liège-Bastogne-Liège he will return to Italy for the Giro d'Italia.

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