In winning stage five of the Tour of the Basque Country, Carlos Rodríguez became the second Ineos Grenadiers rider in two weeks to win from a long-distance breakaway, the Spaniard claiming that this win was exactly how he wants to race.
The 21-year-old has been in good form this spring with good GC placings at the three Spanish stage races he has ridden, but his win in the rain on the steep finishing slopes in the village of Mallabia on Friday was his maiden professional triumph.
He attacked with 100km and seven climbs to go on the penultimate stage of the Basque Country, and an hour later the small breakaway group was narrowed down to just he and Marc Soler of UAE-Team Emirates, with Rodríguez later attacking his fellow countryman on the penultimate climb and holding onto the line.
Although different, it had shades of Richard Carapaz's outstanding win at the recent Volta a Catalunya, the Ecuadorian attacking 125km from the line with Sergio Higuita.
"I like to give it everything," Rodríguez said afterwards. "To attack from afar... we are here in the world of cycling, it's what we like. We like see the spectacular. That's what fans enjoy, and I think that's the main thing in cycling.
"To be honest, I have no words [for his win]. I don't think I have realised yet what I have done. It's my first professional victory in a race so important with so many fans here. I couldn't imagine starting in a better way."
The Andalusian has been on Ineos' books for three years, skipping the U23 ranks to join the WorldTour outfit aged just 18. After two seasons of learning, he has developed greatly in the opening months of the current campaign, and he revealed that his team have been supportive of him racing aggressively.
"The team gave me freedom to try for the stage today and in the end I could achieve what I wanted to," he said. "I'm really pleased and very grateful for the work they do, the support they gave me. This victory is for them also."
He added: "It was a pretty hard start to the stage today, similar to yesterday, where everybody wanted to be in the breakaway.
"I was lucky that I could make it but it was a little difficult [at first] because there were guys there on the GC, so we had to look for another attack. In the end there was only me and Marc left in the front, but we couldn't go to the end together. He did incredible work - it's just a shame they caught him."
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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