Joaquim Rodríguez is a Spanish professional road cyclist, renowned a classics specialist and strong climber. Born in May 1979 in Barcelona to a father who was keen amateur cyclist, Rodríguez was attached to the sport from the start. He picked up the nickname Purito, Spanish for ‘small cigar’, early in his career after he made a smoking gesture while easily passing some of his teammates on a steep climb.
He turned professional in 2001, riding for the Pro Team ONCE-Eroski, and won Barcelona’s Escalada a Montjuïc. He continued to achieve on home ground over the following years, and became the Spanish road race champion in 2007. 2009 brought a bronze medal in the World Championships Road Race as well as a 7th place finish at the Vuelta a España.
Rodríguez made a judicious career move in 2010, joining the Russian Katusha team and so guaranteeing himself a senior position in a Pro outfit as well as a start at the Tour de France, in which he would go on to place an impressive eighth. He added to this run of form with a third place in the overall classification of the Vuelta a España. Rodríguez finished the season atop the UCI World Ranking.
2012 was a watershed year for the Spanish rider, taking second at the Giro d’Italia and winning the points classification jersey; in the Vuelta a España he again came third after battling with Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. The end of the season was marked by overall victory in the UCI World Tour, just edging out Bradley Wiggins.