EF Pro Cycling hoping for Higuita to emulate Urán's Grand Tour ability

EL ONCE ALTO VERJN COLOMBIA FEBRUARY 16 Podium Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia of Colombia and Team EF Pro Cycling Rigoberto Urn of Colombia and Team EF Pro Cycling Celebration Trophy during the 3rd Tour of Colombia 2020 Stage 6 a 1826km stage from Zipaquir to El Once Alto Verjn 3290m TourColombiaUCI TourColombia2020 on February 16 2020 in El Once Alto Verjn Colombia Photo by Maximiliano BlancoGetty Images
Higuita and Urán celebrate at the 2020 Tour Colombia 2.1 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

EF Pro Cycling's head of performance Peter Schep has hinted at big things for young Colombian Sergio Higuita, next in line as the team's big Grand Tour talent behind likely 2020 Tour de France leader Rigoberto Urán.

The pair enjoyed Grand Tour success in 2019, with Urán taking seventh at the Tour before sustaining brutal injuries after crashing out of the Vuelta a España, while Higuita won stage 18 at the Vuelta, which was his debut Grand Tour.

Urán's injuries included a fractured shoulder blade, several ribs and a collarbone, as well as a punctured lung. The 33-year-old returned to racing at February's Tour Colombia 2.1, helping the team to a podium sweep led by Higuita.

"For me, Urán remains the best Grand Tour rider in our team," Schep told Dutch podcast De Grote Plaat. "His professional seriousness is really outstanding. We hope that Sergio Higuita will be able to work on this because he has shown with his Vuelta stage victory that he has it in him."

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Hugh Carthy made big steps last season with his Giro d'Italia including a day in white en route to 11th overall, as well as the overall win at the Tour du Var and a long-range solo stage win at the Tour de Suisse.

"Hugh got a lot of morale from last season," said Schep. "The queen stage in the Tour de Suisse was one of his most beautiful days. You can imagine that if he goes with the Colombians to the Tour that his role will be very different from his role at the Giro."

Schep also gave an update on the condition another of the team's leading climbers, Michael Woods. The Canadian crashed out of Paris-Nice with a broken femur but is well on the road to recovery and has begun training again.

"Woods is already training at the right level again. He started in athletics and I have the feeling that he isn't afraid of a rather fierce rehabilitation. When I see him engaged, I think he's doing it with a very fresh mindset."

In addition to Higuita and Carthy, the American team has a number of other promising talents on the roster, including Neilson Powless, Dani Martínez and Stefan Bissegger, due to join in August.

EF look set to lose one of their youngsters, though, with the recent announcement that Mexican rider Luis Villalobos had tested positive for growth hormone GHRP-6 last year, before his August transfer to the team.

The news, which came over a year after he provided the sample in an out-of-competition test, has led to EF suspending him indefinitely.

"The same year [as the positive test], he came to our team," said Schep. "Our dissatisfaction is how it's possible that the UCI came up with something a year and a half later while the rider is signed with us.

"We have to meet strict requirements, where everyone here is happy with the arrangement. Everyone follows it correctly, so you have to invest real money to work preventatively against such cases. And then a year and a half later they come with the message that this rider was positive. It's really crazy."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.