Cannondale-Drapac all in for Uran at Tirreno-Adriatico

Colombian to be supported by strong classics squad

Cannondale-Drapac is backing Colombian Rigoberto Uran for Tirreno-Adriatico this week starting with a strong performance in the stage 1 team time trial in Lido di Camaiore.

Uran, 30, was third at the GP Industria & Artigianato last week and will be aiming to carry his good form into the 'Race Between the Two Seas'. 49th overall in 2016, Uran was third on GC in 2015 and believes he can again challenge for the podium.

"In a week-long race, every day is important," said Uran. "Maybe one day is flat and you think it's no problem, but the weather can change everything like we saw in Paris-Nice. Normally flat is easy but you never know. Every stage is important here.

"My first priority in the first half of the season is the Ardennes – Liège and Flèche – but Tirreno is also a big goal. At the moment, I have good condition. We are here to use it."

Cannondale-Drapac directeur sportif Fabrizio Guidi added that the seven other riders selected for the WorldTour stage race would be called upon to support Uran's GC bid.

"Rigo is a rider that can do a good GC in Tirreno," Guidi said. "He did it in the past. The stages suit him. Why not try? It's never easy but considering we are not the team to work every day on the front we can save him and put him together with some riders and play some others for the stages. Our main opportunity is with him. We have a super strong team here. To use that strength, we need to be smart with good strategy and a good team spirit."

The classics contingent of Sebastian Langeveld, Dylan Van Baarle, Sep Vanmarcke, and Paddy Bevin will be key riders during the flatter stages of the race and also in the team time trial. Irishman Ryan Mullen will likewise be crucial for the team's TTT aspirations. He will target the final day test against the clock as he explained.

"I'm going to take it day by day, make sure I'm recovering well after I do my job for Rigo. If all goes well, the numbers I know I can do should have me in touching distance to the top, barring any mishaps in the week," said Mullen.

The team road captain for the week will be Simon Clarke with Italian Alberto Bettiol to support Uran when the road heads uphill.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage and full race reports and news from Tirreno-Adriatico.

Cannondale-Drapac for the 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico: Alberto Bettiol, Paddy Bevin, Simon Clarke, Sebastian Langeveld, Ryan Mullen, Rigoberto Uran, Dylan Van Baarle and Sep Vanmarcke.

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