Rodriguez takes a rest from Tirreno

Katusha recruit Joaquim Rodriguez will skip Italian stage race Tirreno-Adriatico, instead taking part in Paris-Nice, which starts with a prologue in Montfort L'Amaury on March 7.

"This year we have not included riding this Italian race [Tirreno-Adriatico] and, together with the team, we decided to change my schedule and do Paris-Nice," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez fell during pre-season training in Calpe, Spain and feared the ramifications would spoil his form early in the year. Whilst he's not competing at the race where he has taken two stage wins during the past two editions, his comments indicate that he's on track for the Spring.

"In total I rode three days in Mallorca and the entire Volta ao Algarve, with the good result reflecting all the work I've done. It was pretty scary, because after the injury in Calpe I thought the misery would be great," he said.

'Purito', as he's known in Spain, took third in the road race at last year's UCI World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He joined Russian ProTour squad Katusha in a bid for greater leadership roles during the Spring Classics.

He'll now train in Tenerife until March 4 in preparation for the 'Race to the Sun'. "I did this last year and it went very well. I want to train at altitude to get the form and try to ride a good Paris-Nice," he added.

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