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"Now, in my head, the idea is to return. I would like that. I have spoken about it with my trainer. The only issue is my form and if I can maintain the level."

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BAHRAIN-MCLAREN

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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29.11.2016 @ 10:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

More than a month after signing the contract with Barhain-Merida, Joaquim Rodriguez still casts doubt on his return to competition. His desire to make a comeback is real but it will depend on several factors.

 

Last August, Rodriguez announced his retirement on the back of a top 5 at the Rio Olympics. The beautiful end was destroyed by his Katusha team which asked him to do three Italian races late in the season. The Spaniard finished none of them, not even the Tour of Lombardy, and it seemed like the latter race would be his last. A new twist came three weeks later when Barhain-Merida announced the signing of Catalan for 2017. Quickly asked about his ambitions in this new team, he said that he was undecided about a return to competition.

 

This weekend he stated his desire to be back in competition in 2017 but with conditions. 

 

"Right now, I have asked myself what the best option is," he told sport.es. "My goal is to do an entire year, to look for a race to say goodbye, to try another objective. The key is not about putting a date or fixing myself a calendar. The key to it all is my physical form. If I am capable of returning to good form physically and mentally, it isn't worth it to only do Liege-Bastogne-Liege or the Giro. If I return only to do these and I don't win then it's not worth it. The only way that I will return is to see how things go in the first days of training and to return to the rhythm of training, competition and to have the ambition to train. Fortunately, at Bahrain Merida, they are not putting pressure on me. They have said that I can do what I want."

 

The Spaniard thus affirms his desire to return, but that does not mean that he will ever pin on a number. His future career is still in limbo and his decision will probably be final in early January at the second team training camp. 

 

"Now, in my head, the idea is to return. I would like that," Rodriguez said. "I have spoken about it with my trainer. The only issue is my form and if I can maintain the level. At the second training camp on between January 4 to 8 in Bahrain, when I go to train with my teammates it will be clearer.”

 

Despite his undecidedness about his possible return, he did not hesitate to reveal the likely schedule. He will make his debut in Argentina at the race in San Juan, before moving to WorldTour races like Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of Catalonia, Tour of the Basque Country and the Ardennes classics. "It would be the usual schedule,” he assured.

 

In any case, Joaquim Rodriguez seems is under no pressure from his employer. The contract that binds him to Bahrain-Merida is not as a rider and he can take up a position in the staff.

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