As usual, the Helta Skelta Vuelta has proven to be the grand tour with the most tapas, the most sangria and the most fun. Right now, nobody is enjoying himself as much as Joaquin “Purito” Rodriguez.”
The little guy is a week from winning the Vuelta, he’s got a smile on his face and isn’t afraid to tell the media that he’s not miserable like Bradley Wiggins was in Le Grand Shindig.
Thanks to the Inner Ring, we know that “purito” means “clean” as in, clean up in the Vuelta. But more exactly, it refers to a little cigar — and J-Rod will be smoking a few of those if Alberto doesn’t find the extra climbing gear and a biblical rainfall to throw his rival off-track.
Ain’t gonna happen. Rodriquez is fully in the zone where he’s not only physically up to the challenge but mentally enjoying the ride. His post-stage commentary is light-hearted and he’s cracking a few jokes. He reeks confidence. He’s not feeling the pressure and the Global Russian Cycling Project! looks like they have their first grand tour winner. Cue the vodka.
We love his reference to Contador as Johnny Nobody — as in “If I seem so calm about what I’m doing it’s because I keep on expecting Contador to beat me. Finishing second behind Contador isn’t like finishing a race behind Johnny Nobody, it’s a great achievement.” Well, nobody has beaten Rodrigues so far and time and road are ruining out.
Rodriguez is already giving thought to riding the Tour de France next season. Imagine this amazing line-up, if you will: Rodriguez, Hesjedal, Wiggins, Evans, Contador, Van Garderen, Schleck the Younger, Nibali, Rolland and Froome. If you don’t think that’s a blockbuster Tour, you might be clinically dead.
The Helta Skelta Vuelta does it again. Vive La Vuelta.