Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has revealed that he will target the Giro d’Italia in 2014 as he chases the first grand tour victory of his career. The Spaniard finished third at the Tour de France in July, but after viewing the route for next year’s race, he has opted to return to the Giro, where he lost the maglia rosa on the final day in 2012.
“Next year my goal is the Giro, it’s a tough race,” Rodriguez told Catalan Television station Sport 3. “I did it last year and it’s a race that I really like. The Italian people are very good to me and I really want to ride it.”
In spite of the strides he has made against the watch, the presence of a 54km time trial on the penultimate stage of the Tour reduces Rodriguez’s chances of beating Chris Froome (Sky) in July. His principal reason for choosing the Giro, however, is the relative lack of flat, sprinters’ stages in comparison to the Tour.
“[Racing in] Italy is hard in itself, which suits me. It’s hard to find a completely flat stage there, they always put something in it,” said Rodriguez. “And those stages are better for me than riding 200 kilometres on the flat, because anything can happen there – you can have bad luck and lose a grand tour.”
Although Rodriguez claimed a third WorldTour title in four years in 2013 – “There’s a strategy to it. There are some races I know I can’t win, but I try to score points,” he said – he suffered a harrowing defeat in the world championships road race. After similarly disappointing near misses at last year’s Giro and Vuelta a España, Rodriguez is keen to land a grand tour victory in 2014.
As was the case in 2013, Rodriguez will again begin his season at the Tour de San Luis in January, where his opponents are likely to include Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but not Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) who is planning a later start to his 2014 campaign.
“I’m on vacation at the moment, the months of October and November are a break for me,” Rodriguez said. “In December, I will start to train and then the team will have its first camp here in Catalonia. Then in January, I will start racing in Argentina, looking for warm temperatures.”
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