Beltrán sets his sights on the Dauphiné

Young Colombian is eager to prove himself

Edward Beltrán is settled at Tinkoff-Saxo and eager to prove himself, setting his sights on the Critérium du Dauphiné in June as the ideal race to do so.

The Colombian climber is in his first full season at WorldTour level after beginning the 2014 season with Tinkoff-Saxo's affiliate amateur team, Nankang-Fondriest before earning promotion in April.

Currently riding the Tour of Turkey, he helped his teammate Jay McCarthy to fourth place on the queen stage on Tuesday, finishing atop the category one climb in the Taurus Mountains.

"There is still a lot of the season left, a lot of time to get stronger and keep giving it everything," the 25-year-old told Cyclingnews. "There are still many challenges, but for me the Dauphiné is really important to show what I can really do.

"I'm still learning a lot. It has been a big development, as much physically as personally.

"The team has helped me a lot, not just one teammate but the whole team. We're united like a family, they give me a lot of help and that gives me more and more motivation. It's been brilliant for me."

Tuesday's stage in Turkey, taking in a category-two climb and two category-ones, looked well-suited for Beltrán, although it became apparent that McCarthy had the better legs of the two.

"It was a very hard stage, but the feeling in my legs was good, these kind of summit finishes aren't easy but I felt good. We were working for our teammate. Today, it was all for the team."

Colombia has stepped into the cycling limelight in recent years thanks to its wealth of climbing talent, including Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Urán, first and second at last year's Giro d'Italia.

Beltrán is one youngster hoping to follow in their footsteps, along with last year’s Tour de l'Avenir winner Miguel Angel López (Astana) and Sebastian Henao (Team Sky).

"I can see how these guys [Quintana and Uran] have changed cycling in Colombia," said Beltrán. “They're definitely an inspiration.

"Miguel and I live in the same region so we speak quite often. He's a very strong rider, he's won the Tour de l'Avenir so I think he's shown he has what it takes to be up there in Europe. But yeah, we're friends."

And now also rivals? "Yes, let's see what happens…"

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