Joaquim Rodriguez wants to win 2013 Tour de France
Last Updated: 24/12/12 3:06pm
Joaquim Rodriguez: Targeting the Tour de France
Joaquim Rodriguez believes he can win next year's Tour de France and is making the sport's premier stage race his main priority for 2013.
The 33-year-old Spaniard established himself as one of the finest three-week riders in the world this year after thrilling performances saw him finish on the podium in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.
He is now is confident of going one better in the coming campaign and believes the mountainous route laid out for the 100th edition of the Tour is perfect for his style.
"I want to do the Tour and fight for the win," Rodriguez told El Periódico de Catalunya.
"I know it is a very difficult challenge, but next year the Tour has a very hilly course that may be extraordinary for me. This is my desire."
Next year's Tour will be one of the most mountainous in the recent history of the race, with the highlights being a summit finish on Mont Ventoux and two ascents of the legendary Alpe d'Huez in one day.
The route should play perfectly into the hands of Rodriguez, whose outstanding climbing at both the Giro and Vuelta in 2012 were integral to his respective second and third-place finishes.
He even held the upper hand over Alberto Contador, who is widely regarded as one of the best climbers of his generation, during the mountain stages of the Vuelta, only to be beaten to overall victory after a surprise, long-range attack from his compatriot on a rolling stage.
However, Rodriguez's participation in the Tour is far from certain after his team, Katusha, were controversially denied a WorldTour licence for 2013 by the International Cycling Union earlier this month.
The Russian outfit have lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but should that fail, they will lose their automatic qualification for the biggest races on the calendar, including the Tour, and be left needing invites.
Rodriguez's apparent determination to ride the Tour suggests he would be willing to leave Katusha if they are unable to secure a licence.
That notion was backed up when his agent, Angel Edo, said: "The Tour next year is perfect for him. He is 33 and cannot pass up an opportunity like this."
Rodriguez, who ended 2012 as the world's No 1-ranked rider, would be free to leave Katusha as they are unlicensed, but would likely struggle to find a leading role at another WorldTour team so close to the start of the season.