Rodriguez Wins Tour of the Basque Country


Joaquim Rodriguez of Team Katusha wins Tour of the Basque Country after final mountain time trial

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Rodriguez Wins Tour of the Basque Country

Photos: ©Tim De Waele / Team Katusha
Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez came storming back this week in the Vuelta al País Vasco, earning two stage victories, claiming second place on the individual time trial Saturday and securing the overall general classification title for the 2015 edition.


The prior year’s crashes and bad luck faded to a distant memory as Rodriguez chalked up his third victory this week and brought the total to 18 wins for the team, 12 coming in the last 15 days. Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin also showed good form, taking ninth on the general classification. For Team Katusha, success was complete by taking home the teams classification as well as Rodriguez winning the points classification.

“I am so happy!” he said afterwards. “After a year without a victory – now three victories in four days. This is very special to me, but also my good performance in the TT makes me so happy. I didn’t look at it as a TT”.



“I imagined myself to be in a normal stage on the attack. I took some risks in the descent but stayed fully concentrated. At the climb José Azevedo kept me informed about my advantage against Henao. I really gave everything on that climb, I was riding on the limit, but it worked.”

“You can say that it is a surprise to see me performing so well in a TT but already in the past, like in the Tour de France of 2013, I also did very well, – said Joaquim Rodriguez, referring to his third place behind Chris Froome and Alberto Contador in the individual time trial”.

Down at the midway check point, Rodriguez came storming back on the climb, challenging Tom Dumoulin for the win and riding the TT of his life to get second place. Starting tied on time with leader Sergio Henao (Sky), Purito had to wait for the Colombian to cross the finish line to know he’d done enough to secure the overall victory, with Henao into second at 13-seconds and Ion Izagirre in third. Izagirre also joined Dumoulin and Rodriguez on the podium for the stage honors.


“Afterwards it is easy to say that I won this Tour of the Basque Country because the course suited me. In reality it was a very complicated race, but we brought home the victory. That’s what counts. País Vasco is important for all riders”.

“Already as a youth rider I raced here. We only have big names as winners here as all top riders are in their top shape, just before the Ardennes classics. This race is an important race on the UCI calendar. It is also fun to ride between the Basque fans, who are cycling-crazy. Already before this race I was really keen to perform well here, – said “Purito” Rodriguez. Rodriguez was 2nd in 2012 and third in 2010 for País Vasco.

For the hilly 18,3km time trial in Aia, using the same finish climb as Friday’s stage, Rodriguez started the stage on his time trial bike for the long downhill and then switched to his road bike for the final 7km on the uphill finish. His time wasn’t close to the leaders at the check point, but once he hit the final 1km of climbing, it was clear the Spaniard had made up the deficit on the climb and was striking out for the top of the podium.

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