One of the favourites for the Tour of Lombardy, Joaquim Rodriguez, has been ruled out of the race. The Spaniard won the race in both 2012 and 2013. His Katusha team revealed the news this morning on the team’s website.
Their statement read as follows: “Team Katusha’s leader for Il Lombardia, Joaquim Rodriguez, will not be able to take the start in the last WorldTour race of the season. Rodriguez, winner of Il Lombardia in 2012 and 2013, injured his right knee on training on Friday, October 2nd. Pain in the knee prevents him to ride his bike and to defend his chances in Lombardy.”
Rodriguez gave details on how the accident happened.
“Yesterday morning, before leaving for Italy, I was doing a last training behind a motorbike. Just when I dropped from the motorbike, I did not notice a traffic sign post and hit it with my right knee. I did not crash but immediately I felt a lot of pain,” said Rodriguez.
“Fortunately I was not far away from home and I managed to arrive home by bike. In the evening, after my arrival in Italy, the pain was getting worse. My knee was swollen. It was even getting hard for me to walk. It is just impossible to race now. This is a real bummer. I was really motivated for this race.”
A first check by Team Katusha’s doctors revealed a big hematoma inside the right knee. An MRI in Spain will be performed to exclude cuttings of some ligaments, cartilage damage and/or bone fractures or bruises. On Saturday afternoon, Rodriguez returned home.
“This is sad news for Joaquim and for the team. After the Vuelta a España, where he finished second, Joaquim kept on training for Il Lombardia, his last big goal of the season. Also for Team Katusha this is an important race as we are still fighting for the number one position in the UCI ranking. We still have Dani Moreno and Ilnur Zakarin. We will fight for it, but we will miss Joaquim,” said Team director José Azevedo.