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"It’s a perfect route to build up a good work base. I definitely won’t be starting out to win because I’m still behind in my preparation and over all because the South Americans will be arriving in top form and highly...

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ALBERTO LOSADA

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ANGEL VICIOSO

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DANIEL MORENO

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GIAMPAOLO CARUSO

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LUCA PAOLINI

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TOUR DE SAN LUIS

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04.01.2014 @ 15:38 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Katusha has selected a formidable roster for their first race of the season, the Tour de San Luis, where team captain Joaquim Rodriguez will make his season debut. However, the Russian team will mainly use the race as preparation and has no big ambitions in the Argentinean event.

 

The official start of the road season is approaching and Katusha is preparing itself for its first race of the season, the Tour de San Luis. The team will send most of its A team and stage racers to the Argentinean race and has selected what on paper is a formidable roster.

 

The team will be led by Joaquim Rodriguez who will start his preparation for his major goals in the Ardennes classics, the Giro d'Italia, the Vuelta a Espana and the World Championships. He will be supported by his loyal lieutenant Daniel Moreno who will have the Ardennes classics and the Vuelta as his focus points in a season that will allow him to chase more personal success.

 

The star duo will be joined by their strong climbing domestiques Giampaolo Caruso, Alberto Losada and Angel Vicioso to form a team that is suited to the mountainous course that features three summit finishes, one flat time trial and three sprint stages. Classics specialist Luca Paolini completes the roster, with the Italian using the race to build up for the defence of his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad title in two months times.

 

Although the team looks strong on paper, the ambitions are modest.

 

“I’m going to start with the Tour de San Luis, a race I particularly enjoy because of the climate, the mental approach, the route and the level of the participants," Rodriguez said. "Last year went especially well for me and this year we also decided to take part.

 

"Furthermore, the stages are varied, with no less than three summit finishes plus a time trial," he added. "It’s a perfect route to build up a good work base. I definitely won’t be starting out to win because I’m still behind in my preparation and over all because the South Americans will be arriving in top form and highly motivated.

 

Rodriguez again repeated his season goals.

 

My main objectives for 2014 will be the Ardennes classics with the Liege-Bastogne-Liege first and foremost and the Giro d’Italia, the major stage race that is well suited to my skills," he said. "At the Tour de France there is an individual time trial that is too long. For the second part of the season on the other hand, I’ll be aiming for the Vuelta a España and after that the World Championships that will be held on our home turf and with which I still have some unfinished business.”

 

Sports director Claudio Cozzi will lead the Russian team in Argentina and he was in line with Rodriguez' modest ambitions.

 

“This is the first time because last year unfortunately as soon as we landed in Argentina I had to turn around and go back home for an unexpected death in the family," he said. "It’s a very beautiful, challenging route. Without a doubt one of the more prepared riders will win it. The guys are very motivated because they love this climate and the South American approach. We won’t be too stressed out but if the occasion should present itself, we definitely won’t hold back. "

 

Last year the team lined up an almost identical roster, with Caruso being replaced by Xavier Florencio who has not ended his career. On that occasion, they had a similar approach and failed to have much impact on the racing. Moreno was best on GC in 21st and Florencio had the best stage result when he finished 12th in a sprint. Rodriguez finished back in 55th, more than 26 minutes in arrears.

 

The race runs from January 20 to 27 and was last won by local rider Daniel Diaz.

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