Colombian leads overall standings at Tour of Utah
Sergio Luis Henao Montoya has signed a two-year contract with the Sky Procycling, beginning in 2012. The Colombian climber is currently racing with the Gobernacion de Antioquia squad at the Tour of Utah, where he is leading the overall classification mid-race.
"Yes, I signed a contract for two years with Sky," Henao told Cyclingnews. "The team manager and I were talking. He called to tell me that Sky wanted to hire me for two seasons. I am very happy with this contract because Sky is such a big team."
Henao is one of the most prominent climbers currently racing out of South America. Last year, he won the Vuelta a Colombia, which could be considered one of the most challenging stage races in the world, with 15 days of racing through high altitude and mountainous terrain.
"This is the first time that I will go to race with a big professional team," Henao said. "The team had space for a rider who could do well one-day races, stage races and stages wins and they found these things in me."
Henao won the Tour of Utah opening prologue ahead of Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) and his own teammate Oscar Sevilla. He maintained the lead heading into the stage three time trial and hopes to carry the yellow jersey through the mountainous ‘queen’ stage five finale on Sunday held at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
The Tour of Utah upgraded to UCI 2.1 status, which allowed race organizers to invite ProTeams Garmin-Cervelo, RadioShack, BMC Racing, HTC-Highroad and Liquigas-Cannondale, teams that Henao will become better acquainted with at races next season.
"This is my first professional contract," Henao said. "But, I raced some races in Europe before so it is not my first contact with professional cycling over there. I did the Vuelta Madrid in 2008."
Henao will move from his home in Colombia and join some of his fellow countrymen including Mauricio Soler (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran (Sky) and Mauricio Ardila (GEOX-TMC) and live in Pomplona, Spain.