With his impressive victory at Milano-Torino on Thursday, Rigoberto Uran announced himself as one of the top favourites for Saturday's Il Lombardia, a race that holds a special place in the Colombian's heart.
Uran based himself in Lombardy on coming to Europe to embark on his professional career, and he has finished on the podium of the fifth and final Monument of the season on three occasions.
Last year he was edged out in a sprint with compatriot Esteban Chaves and the Italian Diego Rosa, having gone into the race buoyed by third-place finishes at both the Giro dell'Emilia and Milano-Torino. This year, Uran once again finished third at Emilia before taking the crown in Turin, surging clear with a brace of attacks on the final climb of Superga before holding off a late charge from Adam Yates (Orica-Scott).
"In my career, sometimes I have been told that I've attacked too early or too late," said Uran. "Today it was early, not exactly when I planned to do it. But I saw a gap and I went – on the hardest part of the climb. I thought Fabio Aru or someone would come across, but nobody did. I had the situation under control, but I wasn't 100 per cent sure of winning until I looked behind me in the final curve.
"It's important for me and the team to get a victory, especially as a confidence booster ahead of Il Lombardia, which is a race I like a lot."
Uran has raced eight of the past nine editions of 'the race of the falling leaves,' with his first podium finish coming on his debut in 2008. He was third again in 2012 and, after DNF's in 2013 and 2014 and a non-appearance in 2015, he was back on the podium in Bergamo last year.
"I lived in Lombardy for years, when I arrived from Colombia. And Lombardia was the first important race where I showed what I could do," Uran added, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I came third in 2008. Then I finished third in 2012 and last year. I still remember that sprint I lost to Chaves and Rosa. The course is great for me. I want a do-over."