Home > Sport
Monday October 7, 2013 MYT 10:17:00 PM
Monday October 7, 2013 MYT 10:37:02 PM
Classic victory. Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain defended his Tour of Lombardy title in Lecco, Italy on Sunday. AFP PHOTO/Jaime Reina.
MILAN (AFP) Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez of the Team Katusha on Sunday made up for his disappointing World Championships defeat by defending his crown in the 107th edition of the Tour of Lombardy one-day cycling classic, the last major competition of the season.
Fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished second with Poland’s Rafael Majka of Saxo Bank in third after 242km of racing in rainy conditions between Bergamo and Lecco on the shores of Lake Como.
Rodriguez, pipped on the finish line of the worlds’ road race last Sunday by Portugal’s Rui Costa, made his decisive move on the steepest section of the fifth and final climb, powering ahead of a select group of frontrunners.
The Spanish climbing specialist went on to build a small lead on Valverde and Irishman Dan Martin and maintained his advantage over the closing kilometres to cross the finish line solo.
Valverde, criticised by Rodriguez for failing to chase Costa down last week, battled to close the gap but eventually crossed the line 0.17 in arrears.
Majka finished in third, at 0.23, and ahead of Martin after the Garmin rider, who was seen trying to fix a problem with his bike in the final 500m, appeared to suffer a setback in the closing kilometres.
“It’s a huge satisfaction, but it wasn’t easy because everyone knew how much I wanted to win,” said Rodriguez, who produced an almost identical attack on the race’s final climb as the one which led to his maiden win last year.
Rodriguez’s victory comes at the tail end of a season in which he finished runner-up at the Tour of Catalonia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, both times to Martin, and in Florence last week.
Having spent the past week lamenting what might have been, and questioning Valverde’s tactics, the Spaniard widely known as ‘Purito’ (Little Cigar) said it was time to move on.
Tags / Keywords:
Joaquin Rodriguez, cycling, Tour of Lombardy, Alejandro Valverde
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)