How Joaquim Rodriguez became world number one – again

Giro di Lombardia

Rodriguez attacks on the Villa Vergano, from where he soloed to victory for the second consecutive year (Pic: Sirotti)

Rodriguez arrived at the final Monument of 2013 as favourite to repeat his heroics of twelve months earlier when he rode solo to victory at Il Lombardia.

However, with the bitter disappointment of narrowly missing out on the rainbow jersey at the World Championships still weighing heavily on his mind and his card being well marked by his rivals, it was unlikely to be a straightforward race – particularly when rain began to fall.

However, aided by strong support riding from his team-mates, Rodriguez remained well-placed in the peloton, and the Katusha squad ensured they worked hard to reel in a break by Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler when the Frenchman went clear with 60km remaining.

And when the race came back together on the final climb, the ascent of Villa Vergano, Purito struck his decisive blow – bursting clear of the pack to distance into his closest rivals on the steepest section of the climb.

Unlike in Florence at the World Championships, Rodriguez ensured he stayed clear – soloing to victory in the rain to seal his spot as world number one and banish the demons of the previous week.

The sight of him crossing the Lecco finish line alone, with the rain pouring around him, carried with it a certain sense of deja-vu and the knowledge the Spanish hardman can be considered one of the toughest, most consistent performers on the modern circuit.

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