Uran: My season starts at the Tour de France

EF Education First line up with Woods, van Garderen and Bettiol

Rigoberto Urán will spearhead the EF Education First team as they head to Brussels this week for the start of the 2019 Tour de France.

The Colombian, who was second in the race two years ago, will once again lead the squad’s GC aspirations, but the American team arrives at the race with a number of strong options as they also target stages.

The squad was finalised last week at a three-day team time trial training camp in Girona, Spain, with Michael Woods and Criterium du Dauphine runner-up Tejay van Garderen also selected. Both Woods and van Garderen will support Urán in the high mountains of this year’s Tour de France, while Woods will also use his punchy climbing style to target a number of stages.

Van Garderen has pinpointed the team and individual time trials as his objectives. Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol will also have freedom to target stages wins while also balancing his duties of keeping Uran safe during the opening week of the race.

Tanel Kangert, Tom Scully, Simon Clarke and Sebastian Langeveld make up the rest of the eight-rider team. The team time trial on stage 2 marks the first major objective for the team.

Urán has had a stop-start year due to injury and heads into the Tour de France with just 19 days of racing in his legs. He admits that while his preparation has been less than ideal, he is at least fresh.

"My season starts now. I crashed in March at a bad moment, and I’ve not raced that much this year. I did Colombia, two days in Paris-Nice, the Tour of California and the La Route d’Occitanie. Then I’ve done three days of training at this camp,” Urán told Cyclingnews once the team was announced internally last week.

"I'm fresh and my condition is really good. We’ll see in the next few weeks. I’m fresh, we’ve a good team and that is perfect. The Tour is always difficult, and I know that not many people are talking about me because I crashed out of the Tour last year and I didn’t race much this year, but I hope that they’ll be talking about me at the end of this year’s race."

EF Education First for the Tour de France: Alberto Bettiol, Simon Clarke, Tanel Kangert, Sebastian Langeveld, Tom Scully, Rigoberto Urán, Tejay van Garderen, Michael Woods

Cyclingnews will have an exclusive behind-the-scenes podcast later this week after spending time with EF Education First at their pre-Tour training camp in Girona.

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