Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) believed until the last moment, until the last kilometre in Milan yesterday that he had a chance to win the Giro d’Italia.

“To tell the truth, Valerio [Piva, team DS] was telling me it was my moment in the time trial. I risked it all. I pushed it, in every corner,” Rodriguez said in a post-race press conference.

“I thought, maybe he was doing the same. Up until the last kilometre, I believed. We were talking seconds. I had a chance to win this race up until the last moment.”

The Spaniard placed second overall, his best finish in a Grand Tour since he placed fourth in the Vuelta a España in 2010 and in the Giro d’Italia last year. In 2010, he also placed ninth in the Tour de France.

Rodriguez first took the pink jersey in Assisi midway in the race. He darted ahead on the steep slopes into the ancient city centre, seizing the stage win and a crucial 20-second time bonus.

Ahead of this race, the organiser decided not to award bonuses on the five crucial mountain stages in the Alps. In the Giureconsulti courtroom near the Piazza Duomo, Rodriguez looked over the classification sheet where he placed second by 16 seconds. Had he taken bonus seconds here and there, including the stage win in Cortina d’Ampezzo, he might have won.

“The bonuses are what they are. It’s better not too think about it now, not to look back and second guess. We lost, you can’t change that,” Rodriguez explained.

“To think of some error now or where I might have made a mistake is useless. OK, maybe in the first week I could’ve tried to drop Ryder, maybe Ivan Basso would’ve used that to his advantage and won. The race took its shape. It went how it went and Ryder won. Maybe if something would’ve changed, I could’ve won, but also Thomas De Gendt could’ve won!”

De Gendt was the first Belgian to finish on a Grand Tour podium since 1995. You have to go back further, to 1978 with Johan De Muynck to find the last Giro winner.

“I don’t think anyone here was thinking about him yesterday!” Hesjedal said, referring to De Gendt’s ride up the Stelvio Pass. “I was scared of him when he was taking off in the valley. He forced this race, it put me in a hard situation. All the rivals knew it was my race to lose. They put the work on me and made me pull the time back. He added more stress to the situation.”

Rodriguez also pushed Hesjedal. After 28.2 kilometres around Milan’s centre, he finished only 47 seconds back. However, that was enough to lose him the Giro by 17 seconds.

“I have to keep trying,” Rodriguez added. “I’ll be back next year.”

Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news



Hesjedal celebrates hard-fought Giro win



Cavendish misses out on Giro red jersey by one point



Giro welcomes prospect of Canadian winner



Sky birthday boys put party on hold



Phinney aiming for Giro final time trial win



Hesjedal edges closer to being first Canadian Giro winner



Eisel rues missed sprint chances at Giro



Still an ‘opportunity’ for Uran to win Giro



Guardini speechless after win against Cavendish



Kennaugh withdraws from Giro, next stop Olympics



Giro’s Stelvio stage may be shortened due to weather



Izagirre wins on Grand Tour debut



Cavendish silences Cipollini



Sky tightens grip on white jersey



Rodriguez versus Hesjedal in Giro title fight



Cavendish’s Sky lead-out still on learning curve



Orica-GreenEdge to strengthen sprint train in Tour de France



Schleck struggles on with dislocated shoulder



Rodriguez up against more experienced rivals in Giro



Bak from worker to winner at the Giro

Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage and schedule



Giro d’Italai 2012 stage 13 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 12 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 10 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage six live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage four live text coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports

Stage 21: Hesjedal wins 2012 Giro d’Italia overall as Pinotti wins final time trial

Stage 20: De Gendt conquers Stelvio to win stage

Stage 19: Kreuziger bounces back with Giro stage win

Stage 18: Guardini beats Cavendish in final Giro sprint

Stage 17: Rodriguez wins stage to consolidate lead

Stage 16: Izagirre claims Basque breakaway victory

Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro

Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead

Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 12: Bak attacks to win

Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption

Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead

Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall

Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win

Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead

Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win

Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win

Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead

Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash

Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning

Stage one: Phinney wins time trial

Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries



Stage 21 photo gallery



Stage 20 photo gallery



Stage 19 photo gallery



Stage 18 photo gallery



Stage 17 photo gallery



Stage 16 photo gallery



Stage 15 photo gallery



Stage 14 photo gallery



Stage 13 photo gallery



Stage 12 photo gallery



Stage 11 photo gallery



Stage 10 photo gallery



Stage nine photo gallery



Stage eight photo gallery



Stage seven photo gallery



Stage six photo gallery



Stage five photo gallery



Stage four photo gallery



Stage three photo gallery



Stage two photo gallery



Stage one photo gallery

Giro d’Italia 2012: Blogs

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Holding on to the lead

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right

Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day

Giro moto blog: Stage 10

Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders



Giro d’Italia 2012 start list

Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide



Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links



Giro d’Italia 2012: The Big Preview



Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia section

 

  • JD

    At least he won the Red Jersey without even trying to.

    The problem with Rodriguez is that he’s a stage and perhaps classics rider, not a Grand Tour contender. He’s never going to out-climb and out time-trial the best. He’d be better aiming for more achievable prizes.