Rigoberto Uran jumped into the warmth of a Team Sky Jaguar after crossing the finish line and riding five hundred metres further up the Col du Galibier after stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia. The Colombian finished 10th, 54 seconds behind Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) but was done in the same time as race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Cadel Evans (BMC), his two big rivals for overall victory.
After getting changed in the car and taking a natural break while enjoying the view across the valley, Uran spoke to Cyclingnews and Sky Italia television.
Despite the cold and fatigue of two days in the Alps, he quickly rediscovered his sense of humour. "My freezer in Colombia isn't as cold as it is up here," he joked. "Fortunately I've got used the cold after racing in Europe for several years but what 'frio'; we've had two tough days."
"I think we were lucky today, it was only cold at the end. Today was a hard stage again but it was a great day of racing. We made the right decision to ride steady on the first climb and then it became really hard on the climb to the finish."
On the podium behind Nibali and Evans
Uran is 2:46 behind Nibali but only one minute down on Evans. With Bradley Wiggins out of the race, he is the team leader at Team Sky and is targeting at least a place on the final podium in Brescia in a week's time.
"I expected these two stages to go like they did," he said.
"Nibali, Evans and Santambrogio are riding well and are on form. Today it was difficult to gain time because were all about as strong as each other. Now it's important to rest up well and then we'll see what happens in the remaining stages."
The aggressive Colombian is hoping to gain some time in Thursday's 20km mountain time trial near Trento and then in the two final mountain stages. His victory atop the Altopiano del Montasio confirmed his form on the climbs and lifted him up the overall standings. He will have to be equally aggressive if he wants to become the first ever Colombian to win the Giro d'Italia.
"The last week will be hard but will also be a great race. I hope the weather is okay, so that we can climb all the mountains. Then we'll see what happens…" he said with a smile.
The mountain time trial will also be important and could change the race. I'm still feeling pretty good and I'm confident."