Rigoberto Urán, the runner-up in this year's Tour de France, is cruising into the off-season with the pair of ASO events in Asia, last week's Shanghai Criterium and this weekend's Saitama Criterium in Japan. In between races he is working on his clothing company and mulling the 2018 season, which he tells Marca could include both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
"You know that the teams normally decide the calendar, but I think next year will be good to go to the Vuelta a España because afterward there is a really, really hard and good World Championships," Urán told Marca. "I haven't done the Vuelta in years, my calendars changed and to do two [Grand Tours] in the same year is a bit hard, a bit complicated. I've tried many times and to be good in two races is a bit hard."
Urán, second in the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and 2014, had a bit of a dry spell in the past two years when it came to the Grand Tours, but thanks to the relaxed atmosphere at the Cannondale-Drapac team, he was able to ride under the radar early in the Tour de France, escaping the pressure of being on the pundits' favourites list.
After moving up to second overall in the final time trial over Romain Bardet, Urán could have hung up his wheels and called his season a success. But he went on to race in Colorado, Canada and win Milano-Torino before ending his year with Il Lombardia.
When asked if he was content with what he's achieved in his career, Urán replied candidly, "No, if I were content I'd go home to Colombia and wouldn't return to be seen here. When I go home to Colombia is when I'm content with what I've done. I think that to be human is to never be content with anything. Because once you win the Tour de France five times, when you finish, new objectives come. In life, in business, to be human is to never be content."
There isn't much room for improvement for Urán in the Tour de France, other than unseating four-time overall winner Chris Froome (Team Sky), but as usual, Urán took the assertion that winning is his only option to show progress in stride.
"If I end up second again, or third or off the podium, it won't matter. What matters is to have the thrill of going forward again. Whatever comes, it will be well received," he said.
"Every season is good for me, independent of the results, win or lose. The teams, logically, want us to move forward, that's what they pay us for. But for me, to finish a year without falls or accidents is already important enough, and obviously, with the result of the podium in the Tour, the year has been good for me and the team."
Urán rued the fact that Slipstream's sponsorship hiccup meant that some of his teammates chose to go elsewhere next season rather than wait for owner Jonathan Vaughters to secure a new backer, which he quickly did in EF Education First.
"It was a bit of a pity because other teammates left," Urán said. "They had offers and there are times in which you can't wait. It's a bit fucked up when you have teammates with whom you've been accustomed to riding and they leave because of the threat of not having a sponsor. Either they get a team or they end up in the street."