Rigobert Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) will sit on the Giro d’Italia’s transfer flight back to Italy on Monday as the best-placed contender for the general classification. A very encouraging start for the Colombian, then, who finished second in the Giro d’Italia last year and whose maiden experience as sole gc leader for a top team in a Grand Tour could not have got off to a better start.
“It’s all going very well, particularly thanks to the team time trial,” Urán said to a small group of reporters at the stage three start - which he completed lying ninth overall, at 19 seconds on Giro leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE). “So for the moment it’s all going as well as can be expected.”
He was adamant that it was no real shock that Omega Pharma-Quick Step could do so well against their rivals in the team time trial - finishing second, two seconds up on BMC Racing and an impressive 50 seconds clear of Movistar and Nairo Quintana - pointing out that “we’ve won the World Team Time Trial Championships for two years running.”
“Perhaps getting such a big difference was a little bit of a surprise, but we were very mentalized to do as well as possible. It’s a good advantage and the idea is to keep it for as long as possible.”
The persistent rain in Ireland, he said, had not been a major issue for him - and indeed in last year’s Giro, which was affected by very bad weather, Urán had no problems whatsoever.
“This is the Giro d’Italia, it’s what you expect. I think if it’s tough, it’s tough for everybody, particularly the mechanics and hopefully it’ll get better in Italy.”
“I’ve ridden four Giros, and three of them have started in foreign countries. You can see that there are a lot of fans here and it’s nice to be in places that arent’ just Italy.”
Although he is in a strong position, Urán states categorically that he realises that this does not guarantee an equally impressive classification long-term. “The Giro is still very, very open, and there’s a long way to go, all the decisive stages are yet to come. For now I’m going well, and I’m getting better by the day.”
He has none of the 18 stages remaining, though, marked down in the route book as a particular objective. “I mark them them down every morning when I get up,” he joked. In the first three Giro stages, in any case, and the earliest battles and skirmishes for the general classification, Urán has registered full marks in all of them.