Rigoberto Urán: “The Giro has given me the confidence that I can win a three-week race”
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rigoberto Urán: “The Giro has given me the confidence that I can win a three-week race”

by Ben Atkins at 3:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Colombian runner up reflects on his “unexpected” achievement in Italy

rigoberto uranRigoberto Urán (Team Sky) finished an “unexpected” second place at the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, having started the race in support of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, but now feels confident enough to go into a Grand Tour as the team leader. Now back at his home in Monaco, the Colombian looked back on the race, and spoke about where his career might take him next.

“The truth is I’m quite surprised,” he said of his Giro second place. “Being second is important, but the truth is that it was something unexpected for me. I didn’t expect it in Naples because I was focussed on working for Wiggins. As time passes you realise what you have achieved. Also at the finish in Brescia, where I was with my friends, I could celebrate and enjoy it.

“I can see the progression, experience and tranquility after eight years in Europe,” he continued. “I was in shape for the mountains and then everything changed with Brad’s abandonment. The team was very strong and concentrating on working hard so it did everything we’d planned but with me as leader.”

Despite having waited for Wiggins as the British rider crashed and then faltered on the wet descent into Pescara on stage seven, Urán was actually ahead of his team captain after winning stage ten. As Wiggins struggled in the rain again, however, Urán was the only rider from Team Sky not to be called back to help, as he gradually took on joint leadership, and then the Colombian took on the sole mantle himself as Wiggins finally succumbed to a chest infection and pulled out of the race.

“I don’t know how you assimilate, but leadership in the race was important to me,” said Urán. “Sometimes taking responsibility and riding under pressure is difficult. The team expect you to respond and you always have that pressure, from the fans and the whole country. I have no problem with that type of pressure and I’ve proved that I can handle it.”

Having now finished on the Giro podium Urán will look ahead to the rest of the season but, whether he will start the Tour de France - where Team Sky currently plans to work for Chris Froome - seems unlikely.

“I don’t know,” Urán said. “I have said that there is little time to recover between the Giro and the Tour, and most of all I like to prepare well and get to races in good condition. I don’t like to go to train and rest, out of respect for the team and the organiser. We’ll see how my body recovers, the Giro was very complicated and I’m also mentally very tired. The decision will be taken later.

“The World championships looks good for me and the other Colombian riders, so I might ride the Vuelta a España and then the end of season Italian Classics.”

Aside from Grand Tours, Urán has proved that he can race in a variety of competitions, and the 25-year-old is now picking his next targets.

“I always say that I like the Classics like Liège and Lombardia, and one week tours and, when I’m good shape - as at the Giro - I can also be good over three weeks,” he said. “On top of that the most important thing is health; two years ago I was leading the young riders’ classification at the Tour and then dropped down the standings with a cold. That’s what worries me.”

Urán now has a second place in the Giro d’Italia to go with his silver medal from last year’s Olympic Games, and now seems to be on the brink of finally taking a big result.

“It’s always more complicated,” he admitted. “The Giro has given me the confidence that I can win a three-week race, plus the peace of mind that if I keep doing the right thing I can go even better.”

Should he want to win a Grand Tour, or at least to start one as his team’s undisputed leader, Urán may have to do it elsewhere. He has already been linked with moves to other teams at the end of the season and, if he wants to ride for his own ambitions, is unlikely to be a Team Sky rider next season.

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