Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez has confirmed he will ride the Tour de France despite the fact it had not originally been scheduled as part of his season. Rodriguez, who finished third at last year’s TdF, has not had a good year so far having been one of the victims of the infamous Stage 6 at the Giro d’Italia, abandoning after his crash with fractures of a rib and thumb. Commenting on his recovery the Spaniard said: ‘My rib still hurts a bit, but already there is much less pain than in the beginning. It gets better every day and we still have three more weeks until the Tour.’
In a statement from Katusha Rodriguez continued: ‘I really wanted to perform well in the first part of the season. I had big ambitions but my crashes in the Amstel Gold Race and the Giro ruined my chances for the classics as well as for the first Grand Tour of the season. The other goal I put in place at the beginning of the season, the Tour of Spain, is still there. The course suits me and I want to win that race. This does not mean that I go to the Tour de France as preparation for the Vuelta. I have Tour ambitions too, though not for the GC. The third week looks nice and I want to win one or more stages. I have that goal and in the mean time I will enjoy my bike. Otherwise it would be hard to watch TV without being there. It hurt during the Giro and it would hurt in the Tour, too. Those races are ‘my’ races. It’s only when I watch races like Paris-Roubaix on TV that I don’t have the feeling that I’m missing something.’
The full Team Katusha roster for the Tour de France is not yet finalised.
Want to know how the Tour de France all began? Read the Cyclo feature Origins of the Tour de France here.