Celebrated puncheur Joaquim Rodriguez recently announced that he will stave off retirement for one more season, remaining in the professional peloton in 2017 with the new Bahrain-Merida team.
The 37 year-old Rodriguez – who took a leading role in developing the new Katusha Sports clothing range – picked some of his favourite things from inside and outside the world of cycling – for Rouleur issue 65.
“PDM. I don’t remember the Pedro Delgado era so much, more the first sprint train they used to do. It would have been around 1990. In Barcelona, there was also an amateur team called PDM I’d see at races with the same sponsor and kit.”
“The one who taught me the most is not one I had as a pro. His name is José Martinez, or Chicho, as we call him. He also directed Juan Antonio Flecha and Carlos Torrent; many pros in Catalunya were under his wing. Even nowadays, when I have a problem, I call him up.
“It’s not to do with nutrition or training, it’s classic cycling. He thinks of the course profile, my movements in the bunch on TV, my feelings. Many times, I’ll get a message from him at 11 at night, saying ‘tomorrow, be calm because you’re going well’. That gives me strength.”
“Il Grillo (“The Cricket”) was good for Paolo Bettini. Nibali’s one, Lo Squalo dello Stretto di Messina (“The Shark of the Messina Strait”) is nice too. But they are Vincenzo or Paolo to other riders, whereas people don’t know me as Joaquim Rodriguez, they know me as Purito (“Little Cigar”). Sometimes even my dad calls me Purito – incredible. Even my kids say either papa or Purito.”
“Liège-Bastogne-Liège (below). That’s the one I love the most. Certainly, the Flèche Wallonne is better suited for me. However, Liège is the last of the Ardennes triptych, it’s got a special value.”
“There are so many; I like to eat a lot. I am not someone who particularly likes delicatessen food. It’s more typical Spanish things like paella, washed down with the occasional white wine, and tortilla de patatas.”
“Porsche Carrera. I don’t own one. We’ll see after my career: I like them, but with two kids, it’d be a difficult car to do the chores in.”
“Depeche Mode and their 101 album. I saw them live with my wife at the Palau Sant Jordi [in Barcelona].”
“The Coll de la Gallina, a steep and tough climb that has been in the Vuelta a España twice, in 2012 and 2015. With 12 kilometres at 10 per cent, it’s one I really like because it’s high, you can see over Andorra and Spain, and it’s pretty.”
“If I had to choose, I’d take my Canyon. But after I retire, I want to make a classic ’80s-style one, with Campagnolo kit and downtube shifters on a made-to-measure frame with refined, narrow tubes.”
“[Katusha team-mate] Angel Vicioso. I shared rooms a lot with Leonardo Piepoli who was also very good; however, I’ve ridden a lot with Vicioso. We are both chilled out, we like to go to bed early and we are both jovial guys, always chatting.”
“The 2013 Tour of Lombardy, the week after I’d finished second in the World Championship road race in Florence. To win Lombardia – and the ProTour – with that rage, that grinta, was spectacular.”