José Joaquín Rojas enjoys second rest day in 2011 Tour de France with the points jersey as main goal for Movistar Team
Movistar Team are enjoying a well-deserved second rest in the 2011 Tour de France at the village of Bourg-lès-Valence. The riders led by Eusebio Unzué rolled for over an hour in the pre-Alpine roads in the eve of the four mountain stages -especially the ones on Thursdya and Friday atop the Galibier and L’Alpe-d’Huez- before Saturday’s ITT in Grenoble and Sunday’s triumphant march to Paris. Calm and in good spirits thanks to the stage victory earned by Rui Costa in Super-Besse -the Portuguese rider, suffering a sprained right ankle, was the only cyclist not going for a rider along with Andrey Amador-, Movistar Team keep fighting for a place into the final podium in the Champs-Élysées with José Joaquín Rojas still running for the win in the points ranking. Currently 2nd in the ranking, his contest with Cavendish and Gilbert (319-282-248 points) for the coveted jersey, and took time this afternoon for an analysis on the upcoming days to accomplish his biggest objective up to date.
Tuesday, Gap (Stage 16) – Intermediate Sprint: 20 points; Finish: 35 points
A very important stage for us. The intermediate sprint is rather close to the finish, and the normal thing is that a break formed at the beginning makes it. We hope it’s not so big that many points are ruled out for us, because the approach is quite uphill and that’s the best thing to take points on Cavendish. However, the most important thing is that the break isn’t so far from the bunch at the climb -Col de Manse (Cat. 2, 11k from the finish)- because it’s a big chance to win the stage.
Wednesday, Pinerolo (Stage 17) – I.S: 20 p; F: 20 p.
It’s quite similar to the previous one; we may get Mark out of the sprint in the Cat. 3 climb if it’s done fast, but it will be hard. Besides, these days are really suited to mass breakaways. Too few escapes have made it to the finish in this year’s Tour, and surely many big riders have this day into their goals. That’s why it’s likely that none of us three might get points. The only chance is that squads like Lotto or Garmin, with Gilbert and Hushovd able to get through these climbs, ride ambitiously and gamble for the final chase.
Thursday, Serre Chevalier (Stage 18) – I.S: 20 p; F: 20 p.
There’s an intermediate sprint in the 45th kilometer, but I guess that, by that point, the break of the day might have opened way, even though it might not be big because it’s a day for the GC guys. If that’s the case, we’ll be contesting the intermediate, even though so close to the start, with no major climbs, Cavendish is into advantage. Our chance for this stage is taking him out of time. The Agnello is a long, hard climb, 100k from the finish. If you drop there, you’re dead.
Friday, Alpe d’Huez (Stage 19) – I.S: 20 p; F: 20 p.
This is the most important day, the last chance so as to get Cavendish out of time. As I said, if we can’t beat him into a sprint, other chances must be played. The jersey awards the best rider in all terrains, and I will try to take my advantage into those roads. The stage is really short so the out-of-time will be shorter than ever. Besides, the GC riders will be surely trying to get into the fight right at the Télégraphe.
Saturday, Grenoble (Stage 20) – F: 20 p.
It will be a recovery day which none of us three will be contesting. The only one that could to something is Gilbert, but the key stages for him will be the ones on Tuesday and Wednesday. If he doesn’t get any more points there, he might be quitting the fight, but he’s an impressive baroudeur and he has to see this really complicated in order to surrender. During the first stages, he’ll try to get me out of the race as he’ll do with Cavendish, profiting from his climbing abilities.
Sunday, Paris (Stage 21) – I.S: 20 p; F: 45 p.
It’s obvious that Paris is a place for Cavendish, but we hope not to have him into the race then (laughs). If not, it will be difficult to bid for the win and also for the stage. If he’s not there anymore, the stage win will be really open too, and there might be a chance. We’ll ride day by day, step by step, just like we did until today.