While Fast Freddy Rodriguez has missed the first ten stages of the Vuelta a Espana and is now over 38 minutes behind leader Chris Froome (Sky), the American sprinter still believes a podium finish is possible.
“There’s no question there are a few guys ahead of me on GC but I’m not out of the race yet. They don’t call me Fast Freddy for nothing. My legs feel great and I can make up the time,” said Rodriguez.
According the reports, Rodriguez flew directly from the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado — where he sprinted to third place in the final stage to Denver– to start his Vuelta in Spain.
“It might seem impossible to jump into the Vuelta when it’s half over, but I like to push myself,” said Rodriguez. “I speak fluent Spanish so I just made a few calls to Javier Guillén [Vuelta director] and they gave me a special invite. Better late than never.”
Still a 38 minute deficit in the Vuelta won’t be easy to erase, especially with more mountains to climb. Still, Rodriguez seems undaunted. “Hey, I was just climbing in the Colorado Rockies, over 12,000 in elevation. There’s nothing like that in Spain so I plan to hit the gas.”
That now means there are two Rodriguez’s in the Vuelta a Espana, with Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha also vying for a podium spot despite lying 3:23 behind Froome.
However the man who once gave the world Fast Freddy coffee and now a new cycling apparel line, is thinking big. “Think about it — it’s never been done — making up 38 minutes in a grand tour,” said Rodriguez. ” That’s my dream.”