Dubai: Top-ranked Spanish rider Joaquin Rodriguez has announced he will not be competing in the Tour de France this year.
The Team Katusha star, who finished first in the UCI world rankings in 2010, 2012 and 2013, had a best finish of third overall at last year’s Tour de France. But, with age not exactly favouring the 34-year-old, Rodriguez has realigned his priorities for this season.
“This is a very important season for me and I have set important goals for myself. And prominent among these goals is to do the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, while dropping the Tour de France,” Rodriguez told Gulf News on the sidelines of the inaugural Dubai Tour.
“I think it’s more about what I can achieve at this stage of my career and I would give myself a better chance at the Giro and Vuelta.”
Rordiguez’s notable results in Grand Tours include ten stage victories along with second place overall in the 2012 Giro d’Italia, third place in the general classification of the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and 2012 and a third place in the 2013 Tour de France.
The Spaniard has also won classics such as the Fleche Wallone and the Giro di Lombardi on two occasions. He has also won stage races including the 2010 Volta a Catalunya and the 2011 Vuelta a Burgos.
Race organisers all over the world constantly make route alterations by throwing in fresh elements such as climbs and cobblestone stages on the tours. This year the Tour de France is expected to have fewer climbing stages, thus forcing Rodriguez to decide to drop it in favour of the Giro and Vuelta.
“The season overall can be quite demanding and doing all three Grand Tours [Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro d’Italia] is not a realistic situation for me at this stage of my career. And, considering that I am a specialist climber, I would give myself a better chance of winning the Giro and the Vuelta than the Tour,” he said.