Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez will have the opportunity to race the Tour de France for the first time in his career next season. He met with his new team, Katusha, last week to discuss his 2010 schedule.
"It will be like a dream to be at the start," said Rodríguez in a press release. "I intend to approach it as I did the 2008 Giro: calmly and looking for a stage win."
Rodríguez finished 17th overall at the 2008 Giro d'Italia and placed third on two stages.
Last month, Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) presented the 2010 Tour de France route. It starts in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on July 3 and will end in Paris on July 25. Its first mountains come in the Alps, at Morzine and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Four Pyrenean mountain stages will feature in the race's final week, with a stage to the Col du Tourmalet only four days before the finish in Paris.
Rodríguez also planned his first half of the season leading up to the Tour de France. He will start at the Volta a Mallorca in February and then race the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico. At the Tirreno-Adriatico, he will target the stage he has won the last two years in a row, to Montelupone.
He will then race Spain's Volta a Catalunya and País Vasco prior the Ardennes Classics in April.
"Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be the season's highlights for me," Rodríguez continued.
He finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year and has helped his former-Caisse d'Epargne teammate Alejandro Valverde win the event twice. Last season, he finished eighth in all three Ardennes Classics.
After the Classics, he will race the Tour de Luxembourg and Tour de Suisse. He plans to lead Katusha on the mountain stages at the Tour de Suisse, his last preparation race prior to the Tour de France.
Rodríguez ended four years with Caisse d'Epargne at the Japan Cup last month. He signed a contract earlier this year to join Russian team Katusha for 2010.
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