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'Attack now or lose' - Rigoberto Urán completes set of Grand Tour stage wins at Vuelta

MONASTERIO DE TENTUDA SPAIN SEPTEMBER 07 Rigoberto Uran Uran of Colombia and Team EF Education Easypost celebrates at finish line as stage winner during the 77th Tour of Spain 2022 Stage 17 a 1624km stage from Aracena to Monasterio de Tentuda 1095m LaVuelta22 WorldTour on September 07 2022 in Monasterio de Tentuda Spain Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An all-or-nothing lunge for the line by Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost) on stage 17 of the Vuelta a España finally allowed the Colombian to complete his set of Grand Tour stage wins on Wednesday.

Even before his last-gasp victory in a thrilling three-way duel against Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ) and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Urán already held a colossal palmarès, including podium finishes in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

But victory in the Vuelta was always going to be special and all the more so given that he had not taken a win for over a year. It comes, too, in a race where EF Education-EasyPost had notably failed to follow up the multiple successes of a seemingly unstoppable Magnus Cort in 2021.

That was all put to rights at Monasterio de Tentudía, where the waiting Colombian journalists promptly swept through the barriers designed to keep the media at bay at the finish, an increasingly nominal anti-COVID measure. They were rushing both to congratulate and interview Urán after a win that was clearly more than welcome for his home public too.

Now in his seventh Vuelta participation, Urán is always a candid speaker. After stage 17, he outlined his inner monologue in the last 300 metres: “Don’t be a wuss, either attack now or you lose.”

“This had to be the day. I had to win, although I won’t have that photo I wanted of me with my arms aloft as I crossed the line,” Urán continued.

“But it’s also true that my wife told me I should never raise my arms, in case somebody else comes past me and beats me. So despite that, I’m very happy.”

Asked why he was so popular in Spain, where at starts he’s invariably one of the riders who gets the biggest cheers, Urán said: “Because I learned to enjoy my sport, my rivals, my reality. Every start line, every morning, I’m happy. If things don’t work out, then it’s not a problem. You have to try the next day. There’s so much sadness and falseness in this world, and that’s why you have to fight to be in a good place.”

On top of his personal satisfaction and opportunities for explanations of his life philosophies, it was pointed out to Urán that his win would also have nothing but positive consequences for his team in the UCI WorldTour relegation battle.

“Blooming points,” Urán said with a grin that belied his comment. “We’ve got so much pressure there, but yes, this will be good for us in that aspect, too.”

But most important of all, surely, was how his success has both given his team a huge triumph to celebrate in the Vuelta and a landmark win for his personal collection of victories.

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