Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) would rather forget about the World Championship and focus on today, which concluded with a solo win in the Tour of Lombardy. In almost a carbon copy of last year, though with slightly less rain, he attacked on the climb to Villa Vergano and rode alone along Lake Como into Lecco.
“I always like to look ahead,” Rodríguez said in the winner’s press conference. “The worlds went how it went. I had to set another goal, Lombardy, and I succeeded.”
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‘Purito’ won with 17 seconds on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). The other chasers, Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), finished slightly behind. Martin slid and crashed in the last corner.
“It was like glass out there,” Martin told Cycling Weekly of the wet roads. “I love this race, though. Why wouldn’t I? It’s beautiful.”
Rodriguez used the damp and grey day as sweet revenge on his own Spanish team-mate, Valverde. Last week, the two were racing together at the Worlds in Florence but came away empty-handed against Portugal’s Rui Costa. Rodriguez remains bitter and questions his team-mate’s tactics.
“We spoke after the worlds, he clarified everything,” Rodríguez continued. “He explained his race and how he saw it. Logically, we have different views on it.”
Attention turned to the north of Italy, in Lombardy, where rain dominated the day. Rodríguez improved on his season, which he said was not as good as last year, by winning one of cycling’s five monuments.
“In the Tour of Lombardy you feel the fatigue more. You are at the end of the season. You just have keep your head up. You have a lot of guys who already stopped after the Vuelta a España or World Championships,” Rodríguez continued.
“You want to win it, though. You want to go home with a win in a bag, a monument in Italy. I don’t like the rain, it’s hard, but it adds to the win; it gives it more value.”
His attack had to come on the road to Villa Vergano, just around 10 kilometres from the finish. Not the on the famous Madonna di Ghisallo or the Muro di Sormano.
“I knew that if I was going to win, I had to go on the Villa Vergano climb,” he added. “I looked around. I saw how hard the season had been on my rivals, how hard the race had been for them. You could feel the tiredness in the group. I knew I had to attack once, one sudden attack. That’s it.”
That was it. Rodríguez helped forget the World Championship in Florence. He beat his own national team-mate, who raced on a different trade team today. He also took charge of the WorldTour lead. Chris Froome (Sky) will have to travel to China and gain points in the Tour of Beijing next week if he wants to take 2013 classification win.