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15.07.2016 @ 09:08 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

So far, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has been riding discreetly in the Tour de France, but if his team is to be believed, the Spanish climber is merely biding his time until the third week, hoping he will be able to turn defence into attack. In the past, Rodriguez has tended to fare better in the big mountains the further the race progresses, and he's hoping to use that to make up for lost time.


"For the moment, we need to follow. Quintana, Froome, Bardet, they are really strong," Katusha directeur sportif Jose Azevedo told Cyclingnews. "We see also Yates and Daniel Martin so there are many riders in front of him. We need to be patient and wait and then in the last week, if there is a chance then we will attack. We need to go day by day and try to be in the front on Ventoux. It's important to do a good time trial the day after. On this parcours, the hilly parcours is not the best for him. He will try to lose the minimum of time possible. Then, in the Alps, if he's at his best then the end of the Tour is a good place for him to gain time in the GC."


Currently, Rodriguez lies 10th overall, trailing Chris Froome by two minutes and 11 seconds. That situation might be rectified during the final week of the race, his team hope.


"The Tour, for us, starts now and we still have all the Alps and Mont Ventoux is still a climb that will always make a big difference, we have a lot of time trials so there are a lot of stages still to come. We have our strategy; we aren't going to change our plans," Azevedo explained. "He has had a complicated year. He was sick four times during the year. In Algarve, he stopped and then he had antibiotics for one week. He started training and recovering and then he stopped again Tirreno-Adriatico. At the end of Tirreno-Adriatico, he was sick. Then he started Catalunya not in good condition but then in Pais Vasco he was good. In the Ardennes Classics the form was coming, and he was approaching his normal level, and then he had a tooth infection, and he had to stop again and have antibiotics for a week and then he was sick again at the Dauphine so he stopped on the last stage. When you start and stop like that so you can't continue your work, then it is complicated. Now, he has started the Tour in good shape, which also motivates him. It is important to us that he is healthy."


This will be Rodriguez's final Tour de France after he announced on the rest day in Andorra that he will retire at the end of this season.  



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