Team Sky's new signee Rigoberto Urán is aiming to help Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France in July. The 23-year-old Colombian already competed in the race last year and wants to return next year in Sky's colours.
Urán felt assured of the possibility after Sky's first team meeting last week in London.
"I spent a great week with the team," he told newspaper El Colombiano. "The people were great and gave me a kit, a bicycle and an initial schedule, plus the assurance that I will be in the main races for the coming year, something that is key for the Tour de France."
Urán's schedule begins with the Ruta del Sol in Spain in February. In March, he will race the Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya. He finished second overall at the 2008 Volta a Catalunya, but will likely target the Ardennes Classics next spring. He said that he will race half of the Vuelta al País Vasco before heading to the Ardennes' Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day races.
If selected to form Sky's Tour de France team, the Critérium du Dauphiné will be his final preparation race.
Despite being 23 years old (24 on January 26), Urán has already raced three Grand Tours: the Tour de France in 2009, and the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España this year. On stage 11 of the Vuelta a España, he finished fifth on the uphill finish to Andorra, one place ahead of eventual overall winner Vincenzo Nibali.
Sky's Team Manager David Brailsford had already taken note of Urán earlier in the year, but the Vuelta's result helped secure the deal.
"He's an excellent climber who has already shone in the Grand Tour environment," Brailsford said when he announced Urán's contract on September 28. "I'm sure he will continue to go from strength to strength."
Urán is part of Sky's group of six new riders, which includes Davide Appollonio, Alex Dowsett, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Rogers and Xabier Zandio. Both Urán and Zandio come from Spanish team Caisse d'Epargne. Urán raced with Caisse d'Epargne for three years after racing with Tenax in 2006 and Unibet in 2007.
Sky heads Down Under with former winners Rogers and Gerrans
Team Sky: Turning things on their head for 2011
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1