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“Every day is equally important. Looking at my history, I was losing grand tours when it was less expected. It’s difficult to day which day will turn out as the most complicated," Rodriguez said.

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele

ALBERTO LOSADA

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ANGEL VICIOSO

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DANIEL MORENO

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GIAMPAOLO CARUSO

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LUCA PAOLINI

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MAXIM BELKOV

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VLADIMIR GUSEV

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07.05.2014 @ 15:44 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Joaquim Rodriguez will line up at the start of the Giro d’Italia with the only one ambition: to enter the final day of competition clad in the coveted maglia rosa and finally claim a victory in the three-week event after too many near-misses..

 

“I think I deserve a big win,” Rodriguez told in an interview for Marca.

 

Maxim Belkov , Giampaolo Caruso, Vladimir Gusev , Alberto Losada , Daniel Moreno, Luca Paolini , Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov will support the determined Katusha leader in his campaign to eventually win a grand tour event this season.

 

Rodriguez followed an entirely different race programme this season with a low-key appearances at the Tour de San Luis and Dubai Tour, followed by a rather unconvincing ride at the Tour of Oman. The Katusha leader didn’t race for over one month, but returned to competition in an impressive disposition, winning the Volta a Catalunya in front of home crowds in the beginning of April.

 

After his great showing in Catalunya, Rodriguez was considered one of the biggest favorites to take the spoils in the Ardennes classics, but the 34-year old Katusha leader experienced a highly unfortunate campaign, hitting the deck in both the Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne, what made him unable to finish the big Ardennes finale in Liege.

 

The 34-year old Catalan insists, however, that a crash-marred Ardennes campaign didn’t affect his Giro d’Italia preparations and he will line up at the start in Belfast in a perfect condition.

 

“I’m very calm,” Katusha leader claimed.

 

“It’s not only about being a favorite. It’s about the whole team, too.”

 

“I noticed that [my] team-mates also became more self-assured what gives you even greater peace of mind.”

 

Asked about other favorites to take the spoils in the Italian grand tour, among plenty of possible winner candidates Rodriguez pointed out to two names he expects to be the most dangerous when the race comes to its decisive stages.

 

“I think Cadel Evans [BMC] is going to be the strongest rider, I’ve seen him being very strong in Trentino. Evans rode [the Giro d’Italia] in previous years what makes him even more dangerous, because he knows the Giro well.”

 

”We couldn’t see how Quintana has been doing since Catalunya. And there are much more [conterders]. It’s going to be a difficult Giro.”

 

“Not more, but equally dangerous as Quintana,” Katusha leader answered while asked which of those two rider is going to be a greater threat, “It first, I considered Quintana as the only rider able to control the race, but now I think Evans has reached similar level.”

 

Even though a versatile route of the 2014 Giro d’Italia edition includes a fair amount of time trialing – never working in a favour of the 34-year old Catalan, Rodriguez insists that this season’s parcours suit well his characteristics.

 

“It’s a beautiful Giro with some with very difficult and nervous finales, which I tend to ride well. The team is highly motivated and we’re keen to start already, we’re not going to make any predictions but try to claim a big victory because I think I deserve it.”

 

“Every day is equally important. Looking at my history, I was losing grand tours when it was less expected. It’s difficult to day which day will turn out as the most complicated. If I had to chose one stage, [it would be] the Zoncolan, which I rode back in the 2011 and where I definitely would like to win,” Rodriguez concluded.

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