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Rigoberto Uran (Sky) en route to fourth place on the Alto do Malhao summit finish.
Colombian to aim for personal result at Ardennes classics
Having enjoyed his most successful seasons since moving to Sky Procycling at the beginning of 2011, Rigoberto Uran will set aside his personal ambitions for most of 2013 as the team embarks on an ambitious project to win the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome respectively.
It means the best young rider from the Giro in 2012 will not be given the opportunity to improve on his seventh-place overall but it’s a decision the Colombian accepts as part of his job - as do the rest of his teammates, according to the 26-year-old.
"Sky is a true team where we all know what our role is," Uran told Biciclismo. "The domestiques are important and our work is highly regarded - even at other teams. I have long been in this circus and I more than understand my role."
The third-year Sky rider is for the moment focused on Tirreno-Adriatico, where the team is hoping to place Froome is a position to challenge for the overall classification. Last year Uran was alongside Wiggins at Paris-Nice, where he finished 12th while supporting Wiggins’ victory but this year he will balance his time between the two leaders.
"Motivation is high to help Froome, both for me and Sergio (Henao). Tirreno-Adriatico is a race full of surprises. Italian racing can be is complicated, there can be technical arrivals, narrow streets and you can find slopes of 20%! We must be attentive and keep out eyes open," said Uran.
"Volta a Catalunya with Bradley (Wiggins) will be my next assignment and may be followed by Pais Vasco then I will do the three Ardennes Classics; Amstel, Flèche and Liège before the Giro d'Italia."
Uran will get his own chances during a few races this year with the Ardennes classics the first opportunity for a protected role. The Colombian has shown his ability in the longer one-day races over the last couple of seasons, most recently winning the Gran Piemonte in 2012 before taking 3rd at Giro di Lombardia during torrential conditions. Uran best result at the Ardennes is fifth at Liège - Bastogne - Liège in 2011 and is hoping to improve on that result this year.
"I'm looking forward to all the races but mainly Liège. They are endurance races where I have a solid background to endure the distance. I think I can be in front.
"We are taking a very strong group with the idea of seeking the podium. With me? I always try, but it's complicated," he said.
Asked whether he believed Wiggins had the potential to win the Giro and Tour in the same year Uran said it would be difficult but added that Sky's successful 2012 year places them in a position to believe. Wiggins won Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour and finally an Olympic gold medal in the time trial all in a single year. If anyone can do it’s Wiggins and his Sky team, according to Uran.
"The truth is that Wiggins will have little time between Giro and Tour, but it is also true that this year Wiggins will race less. For example, last year we were winning with him [Wiggins] and Paris-Nice but this year is different. He also has good people around him. We have showed what can be done, and went from winning medals on the track to the Tour and the Olympic time trial. Why not."