While Nairo Quintana is hogging the pre-Tour de France limelight as far as Colombia's riders are concerned, the Latin American country has another four riders in the field, all of them strong climbers with proven Grand Tour records.
Winner Anacona is lining up as one of Quintana's domestiques at Movistar, Rigoberto Urán is leading Etixx-QuickStep's GC challenge, veteran José Serpa will be in Lampre-Merida colours, while Julián Arredondo will be making his Tour debut and will have the task of assisting Dutch favourite Bauke Mollema in his push for a top five finish.
Winner of a stage and the mountains title at last year's Giro d'Italia, 27-year-old Arredondo has had a steady rather than a stellar season so far. Two top four finishes at the Tour de Suisse indicated his form is coming. But losing 10 minutes on the only major mountain stage to the Rettenbachferner suggested he still had some way to go.
Ten days on from finishing the Swiss race, Arredondo insists his condition has improved and will continue to do so when this mountain-heavy Tour gets under way on Saturday.
"I feel like I'm on the up and I'm going into the race with the aim of trying to win a stage and helping Bauke as much as I can with his goal of finishing in the top five on GC," he told Cyclingnews during Trek's pre-race press conference.
The small but powerfully built Colombian explained that all of Trek riders will get an opportunity to go for their own personal goals when their commitments to Mollema allow it. "We will have a certain amount of freedom to go looking for stage wins and, as far as I'm concerned, my goal is to win a stage and perhaps on the back of that get myself into the contest for the King of the Mountains jersey," he said.
"The route certainly suits me. This year's there's hardly any time trialling and there's no doubt that this Tour has got a lot more mountains than any we've seen for some years. The Colombian riders are almost certain to be right in the heart of the action in the mountains. I think we will all be targeting stage wins."
Asked about Quintana's prospects for the overall title, Arredondo said he is sure that his compatriot will be in the thick of the battle for the yellow jersey. "There's no doubt that Nairo is one of the clear favourites for the title. He looks in pretty good shape and very fresh to me. I think Colombian fans can count on Nairo."
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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