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Tour de France: Uran philosophical despite losing time on the cobbles

Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) was the biggest casualty of the cobbled chaos on stage 9 of the Tour de France, aside from Richie Porte, who crashed out of the race with a suspected broken collarbone.

Uran crashed on the Moulin de Vertain pavé sector with just over 30km to go and was forced into a long and ultimately futile chase. He had to stop again to change his damaged bike but had teammates who dropped back and helped try and limit the damage.

As he crossed the line, however, the gaps made for depressing reading: 1:28 lost to his general classification rivals. Indeed, the blow was worsened by the fact that no one else lost time, save for a modest seven seconds for Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale).

Arriving back at the EF-Drapac team bus in Roubaix, Uran got straight on and into the shower to wash the dust away and then patch up his road rash. Despite cries of 'Rigo! Rigo!' from the gathering Colombian fans, he would not come out for a good hour and a half after he crossed the line.

When he did finally appear, he was surprisingly upbeat, laughing and joking with the fans and media. "Bastante bien," he said of the day – 'pretty good'.

"These are obstacles that are thrown at you, but you have to keep going."

Uran always prefers to look ahead rather than behind and so rather than dwell on the time lost on the roads of 'The Hell of the North', he spoke of the mountains to come in the second half of the race.

"A new Tour starts now," he said. "We've got both and the Alps and the Pyrenees ahead of us. There's a long way to go. The important thing is to recover and start afresh.

"Every stage is important. Now the Tour changes significantly. We've only had nine days of flat stages, we don't really know how strong our rivals are, we don't really know how strong we are, because we've not climbed a single mountain."

Not everyone in the EF-Drapac camp managed to maintain such an upbeat outlook. Taylor Phinney, Tom Scully and other riders who'd been with Rigo when he came down and spoke about the chase, but they were all forced to come to terms with a significant blow to their hopes of repeating – or even bettering – Uran's runner-up finish of last year.

The mountains lie ahead, but Uran will start them in 22nd place, more than two minutes down on the top yellow jersey contender.

"Everything was fine until Rigo crashed, then it wasn't so fine. One minute 30, to the main guys, it's not ideal," directeur sportif Tom Southam told Cyclingnews.

"To start with I thought it was fine, and they'd come back quite easily because there was 6km of tarmac straightaway afterwards. But didn't happen.

"Physically he has some scratches. Mentally he's fine. He doesn't get too up or too down about that stuff. We've seen other guys lose similar chunks with more straightforward finishes. On a day like today, it just can happen.

"It will be difficult to make that much time back now... but, we'll see."

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Patrick Fletcher
Patrick Fletcher

Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.