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Rigoberto Uran (Sky) on the podium
Colombian wins at Altopiano di Montasio
Rigoberto Uran's victory atop Altopiano di Montasio on stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia moved him ahead of Bradley Wiggins in the overall standings but he was coy afterwards about any possible changes to the hierarchy at Team Sky.
Uran now stands third overall, 2:04 off the maglia rosa of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and one second ahead of his team leader Wiggins, who was dropped in the viciously steep final four kilometres before the summit and finished the stage 1:08 down.
The facility of Uran's pedalling on the final climb contrasted with Wiggins' travails, and, inevitably, the Colombian was asked in his post-race press conference if the mantle of team leadership was about to pass to him.
"We'll still have to wait and see," Uran said afterwards. "Today was the first day after the rest day, and it's a day when some riders feel better than others. It was the first test."
After an isolated Wiggins lost 17 seconds at Serra San Bruno on stage 4, La Gazzetta dello Sport speculated that Uran and his fellow countryman Sergio Henao were forming a Colombian conspiracy to wrest leadership of the team from Wiggins, but there can be no such murmurings about Uran's victory at Altopiano di Montasio.
Sky carefully choreographed Uran's attack eight kilometres from the summit by having Kanstantin Siutsou and Dario Cataldo set an even tempo from the base of the climb, while Wiggins maintained a watching brief further back in the pink jersey group.
"We spoke in the team today and decided that I would go on the attack to see what happened," Uran said. "As a team, we were very good today and we showed that we're the strongest team in the race, and we hope it continues like that."
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) finished second on the stage and pointedly commented that his fellow Colombian Uran would be closer to the maglia rosa had he not waited for Wiggins when he crashed on the road to Pescara on Friday. Uran, however, played a straight bat when asked about potential parallels with the uneasy alliance between Wiggins and Chris Froome at the 2011 Vuelta a España and last year's Tour de France.
"Henao and I are here working for the team. We've already shown that we are men who are willing to work for the team," said Uran, whose contract with Sky expires at the end of the season. "We are not Froome, so we'll just see what happens day by day. We knew our roles from the start of the race."
Uran's attack was designed to isolate Nibali and prepare the ground for Wiggins, but instead it was the Englishman who floundered on the 20% slopes with three kilometres to race and saw his maglia rosa aspirations suffer yet another significant blow. "Brad's a professional, I've known him for three years now," Uran said. "We've got to wait and see what happens. The team wants to ride differently and we showed that today."
As well as addressing the conundrum of team leadership, Sky must also find a way to solve a problem like Vincenzo Nibali. After opting not to pursue Uran when he danced clear 8km from home, Nibali repelled later accelerations from Evans, Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) to increase his overall lead.
"It's hard against Nibali because he's in great shape," Uran said. "He knows the Giro, he's strong in the cold and rain and he's in top form. But let's see if he's the same later in the race. We have to wait a few days for an off day from him."