Joaquin Rodriguez Wins 2010 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Team Saxo Bank's Juan Jose Haedo wins final bunch sprint in Montmelo.
Joaquim Rodriguez ended a 27-year wait for a Catalan-born rider to win cycling's second oldest stage race again when he claimed victory in the Tour of Catalunya on Sunday.
The Spaniard's young son Pablo and wife Yolanda, as well as scores of relatives and friends from his nearby home village of Parets del Valles, clapped and cheered as the Katusha rider donned the winner's green and white jersey.
Jose Recio, in 1983, was the last Catalan-born rider to win the race which dates back to 1911.
"Racing in Catalunya always gives you extra motivation because it's my home event," the 30-year-old Rodriguez said.
"But for me the most important thing is I've won one of cycling's most prestigious races."
A former national champion and stage winner of the Tour of Spain, Rodriguez said his victory in Catalunya had been strongly influenced by changing teams from local squad Caisse d'Epargne to Russian team Katusha this year.
"I've got far more freedom of action now," the 2009 world championships bronze medalist said.
"For example, beforehand I would never have been allowed to get in the breakaway that earned me the overall lead here (on stage three)."
Second overall was another Catalan-born rider, Cervelo TestTeam's Xavier Tondo, 10 seconds back, with Estonia's Rein Taaramae in third at 43 adrift.
"Though today was the final and shortest stage of the Tour of Catalunya, like all the stages this past week it was really a fast day again and it makes a hard race," Cervelo TestTeam sports director Alex Sans Vega commented. "Today's stage final was a bunch sprint and so the team's with sprinters controlled the race. We were just riding today protecting our position. The race had a very nice finish line at the Formula One track in Barcelona. We were happy to achieve the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the week, to win a stage and to have a strong GC position. We are pleased for Xavier Tondo and for the way the team worked together to achieve this result."
The seventh and final stage, a 117.8km trek finishing on the motor racing circuit at Montmelo, was won by Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo in a bunch sprint.
Second behind the Saxo Bank rider was Germany's Robert Forster (Team Milram), with Irishman Nicolas Roche (Team AG2R) in third.