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Betancur: I'm sure Urán will be back for World Championships

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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R - La Mondiale) and Julian Arredondo (Trek)

Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R - La Mondiale) and Julian Arredondo (Trek) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r)

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Ag2r-La Mondiale get a team photo before the start of stage 3

Ag2r-La Mondiale get a team photo before the start of stage 3 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

As one of the top Colombians left racing in the Vuelta a España peloton, Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) found himself at the centre of a sea of microphones at the sunlit finish of stage 17 to A Coruña. Colombian TV and radio stations crowded round the 2014 Paris-Nice winner to ask him for his reaction to compatriot Rigoberto Urán's decision to quit the race through illness.

"It's a real pity, his loss isn't just bad for Colombia, it's bad for the Vuelta. He's a major figure in the peloton," Betancur said.

"I wish him all the best to get over his illness and I'm sure he'll be up there in the Worlds" — as indeed Urán was in 2013, when he formed part of the leading break at Firenze until he crashed on a descent on the final lap.

Urán's abandon in the Vuelta after going down with bronchitis leaves Winner Anacona (Lampre), the stage winner to Valdelinares, as Colombia's best-placed gc option — he is currently 19th overall. Coupled with the loss of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Urán's exit means, therefore, it has been a tough race for the South American nation, with Anacona's win as one of the few high spots.

Betancur, meanwhile, may be second last overall, but is still gunning for his chances in the World Championships.

After describing stage 17 as "tough and very hilly, with more than 1,000 metres of climbing, and with a lot of fast racing in the finale," Betancur said his own goals were "to finish the Vuelta as best we can."

"I'm slowly getting better, and then we'll see what the end of the season brings," he concluded - starting, hopefully, at Ponferrada two weeks on Sunday.

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.