Rodriguez set for Liège-Bastogne-Liège

The 2013 runner-up of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has confirmed his presence in the 2014 race despite crashing both in last Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, where he had to abandon for a second straight year, and again in Flèche Wallonne.

Second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2013 and also in 2009, Rodriguez suffered chest injuries after crashing and abandoning in Amstel Gold. He then fell heavily close to the finish in Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, although he could complete the race, albeit more than four minutes down on winner Alejandro Valverde.

Katusha told Cyclingnews on Wednesday evening that a final decision on his participation in Liège would not be made until after Friday. Following a 100 kilometre reconnaissance by Purito and his team-mates of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège route, the Russian team issued a press release saying Rodriguez was definitively going to take part on Sunday.

"I feel much better than I did in the last few days," commented Rodriguez in the Katusha press release.

"I still have pain in my chest because of my crash in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, but the pain is less than on Wednesday. The second crash at 4 kilometers from the finish of the Flèche Wallonne had no additional consequences. I was almost at a stand still when it happened.”

“For the moment I don't know what to think of my ambitions for Sunday because today I did not dare to go full gas on the climbs as I still felt the pain. Our osteopath Hans Friedl treats me very well and he is convinced I can be good on Sunday. I hope so as well. If I can do a pain free Liège, I can show how hard I've worked for the last months. I won't give up. I never do."

Katusha for Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Daniel Moreno, Giampaolo Caruso, Alexander Kolobnev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Alberto Losada, Joaquim Rodriguez, Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov.

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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.