On Stage 18 of the 2013 Tour de France, a 172.5km mountain stage from Gap to the mountaintop finish on l’Alpe d’Huez, a difficult day that included two ascents of the legendary climb for the first time in Tour de France history, Katusha Team’s Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez shined. Riding his Canyon Aeroad 9.0 Katusha Team bicycle, Purito was 5th on the stage and moved up to 5th overall at the 2013 Tour, now just 26″ from a third place podium finish in Paris.
Post-race, Purito said “I’m in a great moment; I really I think finally I’m in brilliant form. I worked a lot in order to get ready for the Tour. I don’t think I’m going to win it anymore, because Chris Froome is doing a great job and deserves to win, but the podium is closer than ever and it would be great to get there. To tell the truth, I think my best form is the one I have now, as I proved last season. It’s not the form I had in the first week: I wish I was in this form in Pyrenees, so probably my gap wouldn’t be so high. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow there will be two more days to attack in the mountains, two more demanding stages. My team and I know them very well, so we will try to do something and attack for sure”.
Friday’s Stage 19 is a tough 204.5km mountain stage from Bourg d’Oisans to Le Grand Bornand with ascents of the Col du Glandon, Col de la Madeleine, Col de Tamié, Col de l’Épine, and finally the Col du Croix Fry with a fast descent to Le Grand Bornand. Saturday’s Stage 20 will be a short and fast 125km from Annecy to finish atop Col du Semnoz near Annecy via le
Mont Revard, then back to Annecy for the Semnoz climb, a steep 11km ascent at an average of 8.5% where Purito is sure to go on the attack.