Joaquim Rodriguez likes the Vuelta a Espana and its summit finishes

Long climbs have a ‘Dear Lord, when will it end? I’m so very, very tired of experiencing pain’ quality to them. However, short and steep can’t be beaten for pure agony.

Pain is rationed in a long climb. It’s intense and seems unendurable. However, when the road kicks up to 20 or 30 per cent, it can be genuinely unendurable. The realisation of this can hit you in an instant.

Joaquim/Joaquin ‘Purito’ Rodriguez (I really could do with some clarification on that name) bloody loves this kind of thing. When it’s a relatively short stint of vertiginous climbing, he can really hit it hard. No-one in this year’s Vuelta a Espana can conquer walls masquerading as roads at quite the pace of Rodriguez.

People sometimes go with him for a bit. Alberto Contador stuck with him for about a kilometre today. Rodriguez had something in reserve, however. Contador did not. With the finish approaching, Rodriguez simply rode off, the powerful, skinny little bastard-genius.

Partly down to today’s time bonifications, he is now 13 seconds ahead of Contador and 51 seconds ahead of Froome.


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