Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling) has resumed training outside after spending more than nine weeks in lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions in Colombia. His main target of the revised late-season calendar will be the Tour de France, according to a report in Marca.
"It was very nice, really, to get back on the road. Beautiful, but also a little strange. You see very few cars and cyclists," Uran told the Spanish newspaper, emphasising that being able to ride outside felt like a blessing, was motivating and it gave him some much needed happiness during such unprecedented times.
Uran had only just returned to training over the winter after he sustained serious injuries from a crash at the Vuelta a España last September. He raced at the Tour Colombia 2.1 in February before the coronavirus pandemic halted the sport.
This week, he was spotted training in the mountains outside of Medellin and in the Antioquia region of Colombia.
The Colombian government has issued special permission to professional riders like Uran, along with Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) to train outside.
The limited group of high-level athletes granted such permission is roughly 50 riders. Protocols have been designed so that they can regain their ability to train for major late-season races, according to Colombian president Ivan Duque.
"That was one of the concerns of Colombian cyclists because we could not train, and there were others in Europe training on the street. We said: 'We are going to be at a disadvantage,'" Uran said.
Uran pointed to the Tour de France as being a main training target ahead of his travel to Europe: "[To] try to get there well to race the Tour de France."
Although the Colombian government has moved to ban all international flights until August 31, the Colombian Cycling Federation has requested permission to secure a charter flight to bring its professional riders to Europe for the start of the WorldTour racing season on August 1.
The UCI revealed the late-season WorldTour calendar on May 5, which includes the major one-day races, along with the three Grand Tours: the Tour de France (August 29-September 20), the Giro d'Italia (October 3-25) and a shortened Vuelta a España (October 20-Nov 8).
Uran told Marca earlier this month that the Tour de France would be one of three major targets, which also included the World Championships (September 20-27) and then either the rescheduled Classics in October or the Vuelta a España (October 20-November 8).
Uran said he didn't think travelling to Europe on a chartered flight would be an issue, and that the Ministry of Sport, teams, the Colombian Cycling Federation and professional cyclists are all working together to find the most suitable date.
"[We are] working and looking at what is the best date option to travel," Uran said.
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