Joaquim Rodriguez to start the Tour de France after recovering from Giro crash

Purito alters race programme after missing out in Italy

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will start the Tour de France after crashing out of the Giro d’Italia last month.

World number one for the last two years, Rodriguez was among the pre-race favourites for the Corsa Rosa but was one of the highest-profile victims of the huge crash which marred stage six.

Joaquim Rodriguez is helped away after suffering injury at the Giro d’Italia (pic: Sirotti)

And having missed the opportunity to fight for the pink jersey, Rodriguez – last year’s Tour de France runner-up – has now adjusted his season’s targets and will take to the start line in Leeds on Saturday July 5.

Purito will not be competing for the general classification at the Tour, with the Vuelta a Espana still his big target for the season, but he insists the Tour is not merely a warm-up.

“The other goal I put in place at the beginning of the season, the Tour of Spain, is still there,” he said. “The course suits me and I want to win that race.

“This does not mean that I go to the Tour de France as preparation for the Vuelta. I have Tour ambitions too, though not for the GC.

“The third week looks nice and I want to win one or more stages. I have that goal and in the mean time I will enjoy my bike.

“Otherwise it would be hard to watch TV without being there. It hurt during the Giro and it would hurt in the Tour, too. Those races are ‘my’ races.”

Rodriguez broke his thumb in Italy, while already recovering from fractured ribs suffered during the Ardennes Classics.

His thumb injury, according to team bosses, has cleared however – confirmed by a recent check-up.

Joaquim Rodriguez will hope to return to the sort of form that saw him win in Catalunya (pic: Katusha/Tim de Waele)

And the Spanish climbing ace is confident he will be in good shape for the Tour, where Katusha insist they will not be dramatically altering their line-up.

“My rib still hurts a bit, but already there is much less pain than in the beginning,” he said. “It gets better every day and we still have three more weeks until the Tour.”

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