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Urán heads up EF Education-Nippo challenge at Tour de France

Rigoberto Urán will lead the EF Education-Nippo at the Tour de France
Rigoberto Urán will lead the EF Education-Nippo at the Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Image)

EF Education-Nippo have announced their squad for the Tour de France, with Rigoberto Urán leading the American squad in what will be his eighth participation at the race.

The Colombian will be joined by compatriot Sergio Higuita and should be sole leader of the eight-man team following his good form at the Tour de Suisse earlier this month.

Urán, 34, finished second in Switzerland behind Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) winning the stage 7 time trial along the way. The Tour will be the 20th Grand Tour of his career, with a second place at the 2017 race his best finish so far.

"This is my eighth participation in the Tour de France. It motivates me a lot to go back to racing and as every year I want to do my best, we have a very good team, and we are going to try to do our best," Urán said in a team press release.

"In Switzerland it was better than I expected obviously. When you win it gives you extra motivation, it means that the work you are doing is going well and before the Tour de France I felt good. I will go day by day. The Tour de France is a very long race, and anything can happen. I hope I am in good health and that everything goes well."

Higuita, meanwhile, made his Tour debut last year and was lying 16th overall before he was forced to abandon due to a crash caused by Bob Jungels on stage 15 in the Alps. During his two-year pro career, the 23-year-old has won a stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España, the Tour Colombia 2.1 in 2020, and taken third at Paris-Nice.

"Competing at the Tour de France is a very important opportunity because I want to give my best self to the team and show all of my potential," Higuita said. "I especially want to support Rigoberto Urán, who has a great opportunity. I would like to be someone who can contribute and achieve great things for the team."

Climbers Neilson Powless and Ruben Guerreiro (mountain classification winner at the 2020 Giro d'Italia) will also be lending their support to Urán during the race, which kicks off in Brest on Saturday, June 26.

Swiss time triallist Stefan Bissegger, Danish riders Magnus Cort ­– a stage winner in 2018 – and Michael Valgren have also made the EF squad, with both Bissegger and Jonas Rutsch making their Tour debuts at the race.

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