Six podiums, seventeen top-10 placements and twenty-two finishes within the best fifteen. The performance by José Joaquín Rojas in his two opening months of competition is on the way to breaking all regularity records in cycling, so his sole victory in the Trofeo Deià doesn’t make justice with the level shown by the young Movistar Team rider.
The Spaniard was touching with his hands again what seemed to be a victory in the second stage of the Volta a Catalunya’s centenary edition in Banyoles. Few centimeters separated him from Italian Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) in a close sprint where Movistar Team worked their hearts out to abort the 4-rider breakaway that led the way home in the eve of the race’s Queen stage on Wednesday, atop the ski resort of Pal in the Andorra principality.
“It was a pity, because I was the strongest today,” complained Rojas just after the finish. “The problem was that I got a bit out of position with one kilometer from the finish. 400 or 450 meters to go I took my chances because I knew I had no other option, and started overtaking all sprinters ahead before I could pass Petacchi just over the finish line. There was actually a photo-finish, but I knew I hadn’t won even though I was going faster, because he raised his arms, although he got a bit scared too. But the finish line is always in the same point for everyone and you can’t think further of it. I’m getting a bitter taste from this stage because I have shown that, in a one-on-one-finish, I could have beaten him, but you have anything in mind but keeping trying. The team was superb today and I want to thank them for this, but I’d like to do it with a victory. I think we deserve it already, as well my teammates as myself. I turned into sort of climber in the last day of Paris-Nice, but I will take some rest tomorrow, because there are four stages coming where big chances to come into a sprint are expected.”