Colombian rider confident of his form heading into crucial Alpine stages
The Cannondale-Drapac rider is coolness personified and clearly confident about maintaining his challenge for the yellow jersey through the Alps and into the Marseille time trial on the penultimate day.
Thanks to Urán’s time trial ability, race leader Chris Froome has picked out his former Team Sky teammate as the dark horse for the title, and also one he’ll need to watch closely over two tough days in the Alps.
“He’s right,” Urán told Cycling Weekly when it was put to him that Froome sees him as a threat.
“That’s because I know Froome well. We spent three years together at Sky, we’re good friends and that’s why he knows that I go well against the clock,” said the 30-year-old Colombian.
He added: “With the form that I have I’ve got now, I have a lot of confidence looking ahead to that time trial and I hope that I can produce a good performance on Saturday.”
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Of course, Urán, like his rivals, needs to negotiate the Serre Chevalier and Izoard stages over the next two days, but affirms he’s got good reason to be confident in the high-mountain terrain as well.
“My level in the mountains has been very similar to that of Froome, Bardet and Aru,” he said. “I’m 29 seconds down and, while there are still some complicated mountain stages ahead of us in the Alps, I’ll be ready. I’m in good form, I’ve been a pro for 11 years, I know all of the riders, I know their ways of riding.”
As for his chances of knocking Froome off his Tour throne, Urán admitted it will be an extremely difficult task, but not an impossible one.
“In Sky, this Tour has a team that controls the race from start to finish. Its riders are very good, and as a result you always need to wait until they start to tire, which is at the end of stages. You always have to attempt something on the final climb,” he said.
With this in mind, Urán picked out Thursday’s stage to the summit of the Col d’Izoard as the most likely to provide an opportunity to put Froome to the test.
“That’s where things are most likely to happen,” the Colombian said, before highlighting the strength of his own team.
“Up to now they’ve done a good job, and we’ve now got Pierre [Rolland] getting stronger after having some difficult moments. We’ve still got all nine riders, a full team, and we’re all ready to give our best and be ready for anything.”