Rigoberto Urán believes that his move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep was necessary to further his cycling career. The Colombian rider said that his own ambitions would have fallen by the wayside if he had remained at Sky.
"After three very good years at Sky, like it was when I left Caisse (d'Epargne), I needed to change to find my own goals," he told Spanish newspaper AS. "I have learned and I feel happy in my new structure, now it is my turn to return their confidence."
Urán joined Sky in 2011 and was immediately put to work as a lieutenant for Bradley Wiggins. Top 10 placings at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Clásica San Sebastián showed that there was a lot more to come.
In 2013, he stepped up to the plate when Wiggins abandoned the Giro d'Italia, to take a stage victory and second overall. It looked like Urán had finally earned the right to lead a team of his own, but with the rise of Chris Froome and Richie Porte, the top of the Sky tree was becoming increasingly crowded.
The Colombian will return to the Giro again this year to lead Omega Pharma-QuickStep's general classification challenge. Urán admits that it won't be an easy fight. "My role will be complicated, but I hope to be at the top. Omega has no tradition in the general classification," he said. "We will all do our part and give our best.
"This is my biggest challenge. I know I will measure myself against people of the quality of Nairo (Quintana), Purito (Joaquin Rodríguez) or (Richie) Porte, but I must give everything to finish as high as possible, despite the difficulties and rivals. It is a route that I love and it can favour me, there are enough mountains."
Urán is one of a strong contingent of Colombian riders applying their trade in Europe, at cycling's highest level. Another of those is Quintana, who he must beat if he hopes to better his second place from last year.
"We have 13 riders in the elite World Tour, with opportunities to shine and we win," he said. “We enjoy a good time and a lot of talent in our country. I consider him (Quintana) a good friend and a great rider. He has shown in his two years in Europe. He is in form, but my obligation is to try to beat him in Italy."
Urán is currently at the Tour of Oman and will ride Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta a Catalunya in his build-up to the Giro. However, the 28-year-old will skip the Ardennes Classics.