Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale Pro Cycling) has already laid out his intentions of targeting the Giro d'Italia this season, but the 29-year-old says he's also got eyes for the Olympic Games in Rio a few months later. Uran finished a surprise second place in the last Olympic Games in 2012, after making it into a break with eventual winner Alexandre Vinokourov. With his abilities as a climber, this year's race will suit him much better.
First up though is the Giro d'Italia, a race that has reaped many rewards for him in the past. He’s twice been on the podium at the Italian Grand Tour, and he’s hoping that he can replicate it with his new team.
“This is the time to win the Giro d’Italia,” Uran said. “The Giro and the Olympic Games are the two main objectives of the year. I have total belief in returning to the podium of the Giro; that is the idea. We are training a lot, well and I trust that we can fight for it.”
Uran missed out on the podium of the Giro d’Italia last year despite two strong days in the final mountain stages. His 2015 season was, however, bookended by victories in the national time trial championships and the GP Cycliste Québec.
He is racing for Cannondale Pro Cycling this season after joining them team from Etixx-QuickStep. The Colombian was one of the team’s marquee signings this winter, along with Frenchman Pierre Roland. After skipping the national championships earlier this month and opting for a later start to the year, he finally made his race debut in Cannondale colours at the Volta ao Algarve this week.
He’s settling in well and, after spending a good winter in Colombia, he’s got high expectations of his opening jaunt with his new team.
“The experience has been quite good, better than I had hoped for,” Uran explained. “The sensations are really good. I’ve had some good preparation, and we have worked really well. That has to continue. To train at home at about 2,500 metres altitude and with really good temperatures, it is the best preparation that one could have.
“I have a lot of expectations,” he said of the Volta ao Algarve. “The truth is that every day I am getting better. It’s a good race to test yourself and to see how the preparation has gone because there is quality and a high level [in the peloton]."
Following the Volta ao Algarve, Uran will continue getting some stage racing under his belt with Tirreno-Adriatico at the start of March and the Volta a Catalunya soon after. He is also likely to compete at the Ardennes Classics, although not all of them, before finally taking to the Giro d’Italia.