>> Save up to 31% with a magazine subscription. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Second at the Giro d’Italia in 2013 when riding for Team Sky and second the year after in Omega-Pharma Quick-Step colours, the Colombian’s talent has never been in question, but he has been unable to replicate that form in Grand Tours since.
But Talansky, who finished fifth at the Vuelta a España last year, believes that the 30-year-old can indeed win the yellow jersey.
“It’s great that people are maybe paying more attention to someone like [Romain] Bardet and [Fabio] Aru, but it’s at their cost that they will underestimate Rigo.
“If you look at Rigo’s history, you don’t arrive second at the Giro through breakaways, you arrive there because you are a world class rider and a Grand Tour podium contender.
“Maybe people forgot about him, as they do in this sport because he had a few years when he wasn’t up there, but now he’s back and he’s doing it on the biggest stage.
“If his form is unexpected to somebody, then they haven’t been paying attention to Rigo. “The last time I spent time with Rigo, it was before he was getting ready for the Giro last year and we were on a training camp in Tenerife. Seeing how he was riding then, and the training he was doing, you could see he was capable of riding the way he is doing now.”
There are likely just eight riders remaining who could win in Paris, and Uran is most probably the best time triallist in that select group, aside from Froome.
The consensus is that if any riders wishes to prevent Froome from winning a fourth Tour, they will need an advantage of at least a minute to the Briton going into the 22.5km time trial in Marseille on the penultimate day.
Despite Uran’s ability against the clock, though, his teammates say that even he would need to be ahead of Froome in the standings ahead of stage 20.
“Chris is a really good time triallist and I don’t know if he can beat him in the time trial. Rigo can’t take 29 seconds on him in the time trial,” Dylan van Baarle said.
“But it’s a three week race so it’s different. We have seen in the last few days, apart from yesterday, that Chris has showed some weaknesses, so maybe Rigo can drop him on a climb and take extra time on him.
“He is riding on feel, he is looking strong and he is certainly capable of getting a podium. He looks really good and he is really confident.”
“The more time you are able to take before the time trial, the better, because Froome is on a different level to everyone else in a time trial, and especially at the end of a Grand Tour,” Talanksy added.
“The Tour is a tough race, we’re coming into the third week where it’s mind over matter, people tire, people make mistakes, and Rigo is calm, relaxed, so we’ll see what he can do.”