Yes he can! he can finally get all the races suiting him: hard, explosive, super steep. Purito Rodriguez still lacks the big bang he deserves, the final victory in a grand tour. Facts of life. But this year he looks on a different level. And in few days it's time of Ardennes Classics.
I saw him on stage 3 but yesterday I was all day at school. Boomer!
Bauke Mollema is one of my favourites you know, he's always been good and now he maybe found the right team so he's also ready to step foward. He isn't just strong, he's committed. That can make the difference between a big talent and a great champion.
By the way, as far as big talents: Simon Yates.
But Team Sky is on the way of a new overall victory and - yep I think so - the rider's name doesn't matter that much. They win as a team. Sergio Henao is 'just doing is job', isn't he? ;)
"Finally I did it. I knew I had to go fast in the last two corners. I had to make up something after Valverde beat me in 2012 here after a photo finish. I didn't dare to lift my hands too early. Arrate is a classic finish and it is an honor to win here. It was a hard day again. The break had many minutes for most of the day. Movistar and Sky took the race in hand and the speeds were so fast. We were comfortable with Zakarin in the break, but the crash of Vicioso changed our team tactics a bit. I had to change bikes and then come back so that cost me some energy, but fortunately the last climb suited me very well. When Henao went, I thought Quintana would go too, but he didn’t. Then I spoke with Simon and told him I needed his help. Good positioning was more important than speed at that moment. Tomorrow also suits me very well. We cross the Aia pass three times. I like this stage the most of all of them. If I can recover from these past two days, we’ll see how I can do for the GC, - said team leader Joaquim Rodriguez."
“I knew the sprint, I have been here many times, and I knew you had to be in the first positions with 750 meters to go already,” explained Mollema. “I was there, but maybe I should have taken a bit more risk. Quintana was next to me, but his chain dropped off and he almost crashed and that’s why I hesitated a moment, and then Rodriguez took 10-20 meters and he was just too fast to get him back.
Oh yeah it was super hard all day. In the beginning it was really hard when a big group went. The guys did a good job jumping in the breakaway and that made it hard for everyone. That was good. And after it was never easy, not with Tony Martin in the front! You have to keep pushing in the peloton because you cannot give him five minutes.”
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 4:05:10
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
3 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
4 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
9 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
1 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky 17:13:51
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:07
5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:10
6 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
7 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
8 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
10 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha