MOSCOW, December 11 (R-Sport) - Spanish cycling star Joaquim Rodriguez will skip next year’s Tour de France because the route contains too many cobbled roads, and focus on the Giro d’Italia instead, the general manager of his Katusha team Viatcheslav Ekimov has told R-Sport.
Rodriguez, the 34-year-old veteran nicknamed "Purito," finished third at this year’s Tour, won by Britain’s Chris Froome, and was second in the Giro a year before.
“The Tour de France is not suitable for Purito. The northern part of the race takes place at the same places as Paris-Roubaix and it is quite unsuitable for him,” Ekimov said.
Paris-Roubaix is a one-day classic notorious for the difficulties posed by the cobblestones on its route, especially in causing falls and mechanical failure. Part of that route will feature in stage five of next year’s Tour.
With Rodriguez absent, Katusha will not focus on winning the Tour’s general classification and instead “place emphasis on winning stages and including ourselves in the hunt for the green jersey” for best sprinter, Ekimov said.
As for Rodriguez, “he will go to the Giro d’Italia,” Ekimov added.