Joaquim Rodríguez’s Ardennes campaign took a big blow after he crashed at Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. He was unable to finish the race, however, the Katusha rider escaped severe injury. Rodriguez will return to training today and is still hoping that he can line-up at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège later this week.
“It seems to be ok, I don’t have any fractures. Thank goodness. Possibly these bad days have passed at the Classics, but I’m assured to arrive at the Giro,” Rodríguez wrote on twitter, after returning from the hospital.
There were worrying scenes as Rodríguez went down after 90km of racing at Amstel. He could be seen clutching his chest as he was being attended to by paramedics on the roadside, leaving the team fearing that he had broken something. The Spaniard tried to continue and Katusha sent two riders back to shepherd him back to the peloton, but he retired soon after complaining of dizziness. He was rushed to hospital for x-rays, but the worst wasn’t confirmed and Rodríguez escaped with some bruising to his ribs. The news means that he could still target his bigger goals of the week.
Rodríguez has named Liège as his biggest goal of the season. The 34-year-old has never won La Doyenne but has twice finish second. He lost out to Dan Martin last year, when the Garmin-Sharp rider dropped him before the finish. Rodríguez has been on good form of late and won his home race the Volta a Catalunya at the end of March. He’s since been training at altitude as he looks to take his first victory at Liège this Sunday and his first grand tour win at the Giro d’Italia next month.
If Rodríguez is unable to race, Katusha have an alternate leader in Daniel Moreno, who finished ninth at Amstel. Between them, Moreno and Rodríguez have won the last two editions of Flèche Wallonne.