Joaquim Rodriguez in a new role at Vuelta
Monday, 21st August – Joaquim Rodriguez Purito, one of the most famous Spanish riders, shared his impressions of this year’s Vuelta. He is at the start line and finish line of each stage as an ambassador of BAHRAIN MERIDA Team the one is helping to develop the young riders in the team he represents.
Purito, how do you feel being at your favourite race and not compete? How can you support riders from BAHRAIN MERIDA with your knowledge and experience?
Vuelta is one of the races that I feel strongly about and that I know better. The one which I raced a lot, more than at Giro and Tour. I know the roads and I think that for the Team it is important that they can rely on a Spaniard that can always be in touch with organizers, speaking the same language, to give info about any changes that can happen on roads. I rode this race many times, even if I never won it, but I took the podium and won some stages. I know almost all the climbs and I can give my help, to Vincenzo in particular. He rode the Vuelta several times, but sometimes he does not remember the name of the climb so I can explain him the features of it to help him remember. There will be some stages where I can give him advice, also because I have the chance to know how the rivals feel.
Is there anyone special you will support? Is there any particular strategy that you can share with the guys?
I will support our three young guys too, telling them how to approach to a 3-week race and how to help a captain like Nibali that can win the Vuelta. I tell them that as in one day race they must be serious and work hard. I teach them to pay attention to details such as avoid iced drinks and keep a healthy nutrition. They are here not only to gain experience, but they need to understand that they are here with a captain and a team that aims to win the Vuelta.
How do you mostly feel, as a rider or more as a supervisor?
I still think like a rider. When I’m with the team, I feel more like a rider. I ride with them during training and I feel like one of them, I share their worries and stress about the races. Among my tasks with BAHRAIN MERIDA Team, there is the role of Ambassador, especially for the Vuelta. But not only image activity. I’m here to support our riders too. I stay at the start, close to them and help them not to be stressed.
How do you feel when thinking back on your pro career?
I’m really proud that even if I’m not a pro rider anymore, cycling fans still love me. I won several races but I did not win big races like Nibali, Contador or Valverde. Anyway, if people still remember me, it means that I left a good impression. It’ s important to understand that there’s more to cycling fans than wins.