How Joaquim Rodriguez became world number one – again

Tour of Oman

Rodriguez has been peerless on many tough climbs throughout the year, having set the ball rolling at the Tour of Oman in February (Pic: Sirotti)

Where it all began for the Spaniard in 2013 – and the first time he went head-to-head with Chris Froome (Team Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) this season.

With Katusha having missed the Tour Down Under due to their ongoing battle for a WorldTour license, the team arrived at the Tour of Oman still not certain whether they would be granted entry into cycling’s top tier for the season.

But Rodriguez underlined the team’s sporting credentials with a victory that highlighted why he had become world number one the previous season.

With the stage set on the final 5.5km climb of Green Mountain on stage four, Rodriguez first worked with Froome, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to neutralise an attack by Contador, before dropping the hammer himself on the steep latter sections of the climb to drop his rivals.

And he remained clear to the end, beating Froome to the line by four seconds to send out a statement of intent for the year ahead.

And, with Katusha belatedly granted their WorldTour license the following day, what a year it went on to become.

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