Joaquim Rodriguez was supposed to retire after the Olympic Games road race, in which he finished fifth, but he was forced by Katusha’s management to contest three more races, culminating with Il Lombardia.
Rodriguez is one of many riders slated to retire at the end of this season alongside Fabian Cancellara, Ryder Hesjedal, Jean-Christophe Péraud, Jerome Coppel, Johnny Hoogerland and Frank Schleck. Last year Alberto Contador announced he was bowing out at the end of 2016, but two WorldTour stage race wins and a runner-up spot in the spring of 2016 saw him reschedule his farewell tour. El Pistolero will carry on with Trek-Segafredo next year.
Joaquim Rodriguez is linked to the new Bahrain-Merida team, where he’d join Vincenzo Nibali but general manager Brent Copeland denies the squad’s interest. Recently, Katusha announced that its license was moving from Russia to Switzerland for 2017. The team would also most likely have Alpecin as a title sponsor, now that Giant-Alpecin is changing to Sunweb-Giant. German powerhouse Tony Martin is transferring from Etixx-QuickStep as part of the new-look Katusha outfit.
Purito is winless so far this season, although he was fourth in the Clasica San Sebastian, fifth in Pais Vasco and seventh in the Tour de France. He is 16th overall in UCI WorldTour individual points. Second to both Ryder Hesjedal in the 2012 Giro d’Italia and Fabio Aru in the 2015 Vuelta a España, Rodriguez has come in the top-10 of twelve Grand Tours, including four podiums.
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