Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) was clearly delighted after he and Sky teammate Sergio Henao laid down the foundations for Chris Froome’s powerful charge in the final kilometre of the climb to the Fuerte de Rapitan fort in Jaca.
“It was a complicated stage today but we’ve shown that we’ve got a very strong team, and Chris is keeping a cool head and is in good shape,” Uran, who finished sixth on the stage and moved up to fourth overall at 43 seconds, said afterwards.
“I had some health issues earlier this week, but I’m feeling a lot better now and I think I showed that today.”
He said he was not surprised that Contador lost time, “because he’s been such a long time away from racing, he’s going to take a while getting back. He fell back slightly today, but he’ll be up there in the rest of the Vuelta for sure.”
Asked if he would take over from Froome should the Briton crack, the 2012 Giro’s Best Young Rider laughed and said “Let’s hope he doesn’t crack.” In fact, Uran is confident that the race will be between Froome, the current leader, Joaquim Rodriguez - whom Froome congratulated at the finish “for racing very intelligently” and Alberto Contador.
A silver medallist in the Olympic road race, Urán denied that he felt bitter at how he lost the final duel to Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov. “I was never angry, I never counted on getting an Olympic medal of any colour, so I couldn’t be unhappy with silver, either.”