Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) had hoped to lose two and a half minutes in Monday's time trial at the Vuelta a Espana, but it turned out to be more than four minutes. His performance dropped him from second place, one second down on leader Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), to fourteenth place, 3:23 behind new leader Christopher Froome of Sky.
The Katusha rider is not giving up hopes of winning the Vuelta, though. “I will continue to fight in the mountains which lie ahead,” he told the EFE news agency,
“Please remove the time trial,” he said wryly. “The time trial is the only day of cycling I don't like.”
In last year's Vuelta, his lack of time trialing abilities proved equally disastrous. Leading the race by 33 seconds going in to the 46 km stage, he finished 105th, 6:12 minutes down. It dropped him to fifth place overall, and he was only able to work his way up one spot, finishing the race just off the podium.
"After that time trial, I would have left. I hurt all over and had no desire to continue fighting, but after this time trial I have the head to keep on fighting,” he declared.
Being passed on the course by Mollema, who had started two minutes after him, was not easy, but he controlled himself. “I knew if I raised my pace, it could be worse. My pace was good and I did not have to go crazy.”