I’m liking Rigoberto Uran. The Colombian was right there with Froome and Aru every time things got toasty on Sunday’s climbs when he won that emotional and machismo 53 x 11- from a slow start – sprint.
Uran’s no ordinary racing cyclist, he’s a complete racer – more on that. His father was victim to the paramilitary wars of the time, and the 14-year old boy had to grow up fast to learn to take care of the family. Uran was pro by 16 and after a start as a championship track racer – he’s happy at high-speeds so Sunday’s sprint was no fluke – was fast-tracked to Italy a couple of years later.
Uran’s been on the biggest teams: Caisse d’Épargne (Movistar today), Sky and Quickstep and his results show it. He’s picked up an Olympic Silver in the Road Race, twice second in the Giro, top placings in Classics and time trials. He’s what the French would call a “Client” – very dangerous on so many levels – sprinting, team and individual time trial, mountains, Classics, Grand Tours, the works. There are not that many racers out there with that full of a toolbox, nor that much diverse and excellent team experience – he’s got an enormous knowledge.
The other interesting point about Uran is that Quintana’s rise sucked all the media attention away from Uran’s excellent career. He must be incredibly motivated to grab this chance to regain his place at the top of the Colombian pile.
Cannondale-Drapec needs to pull itself together before this week’s two Pyrenees stages, especially Talansky and Rolland. The races will be wild and the Colombian needs and deserves their support. Aru has Fuglsang, Bardet has Latour and Vuillermoz, and Froome of course has Landa, Nieve, and Henao plus his flatland monsters and the one-man-army Kwiakowski.
Martin and Uran seem the most isolated of the favorites – perhaps there’s an alliance that can be formed? Look for that this week.
John Eustice, is the organizer of the Thompson Bucks County Classic in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and a long-time cycling analyst who has contributed to ESPN, ABC Sports, Time Magazine, and CNN among others. The Bucks County native resides in New York City. He was a pioneer on the European racing circuit and is a two-time United States Professional Champion.