In 2012, Rigoberto Uran surprised the world when he finished second in the Olympic Games road race in London behind Alexander Vinokourov. Although he finished the Giro d'Italia as best young rider and seventh place overall, he was not among the pre-race favourites, but found a perfect companion when he attacked with 8km to go with Kazakhstan's veteran. At just 25, he was outsmarted by the then-38-year-old Vinokourov and had to settle for the silver medal.
Now, with four more years of experience under his belt, Uran is part of a strong Colombian team for the Rio Olympic Games road race, and is once again aiming for the podium.
"I like to course, it's very nice, so we'll see what happens," Uran said. "One day racing is very special, anything can happen and it is very difficult to control. The most important thing is that we have a good team and that I am healthy, and motivated and eager to do well. We have a good team of Colombians for this Olympiad and riders that can do very well."
Uran is joined by Sergio Henao, Esteban Chaves, Miguel Lopez and Jarlinson Pantano in the team. Chaves finished second overall in the Giro d'Italia, Lopez won the Tour de Suisse, Henao was second overall at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and 12th in the Tour de France while supporting race winner Chris Froome, while Jarlinson Pantano replaced an ill Nairo Quintana on the team after winning a stage and taking second on two stages in the final half of the Tour de France.
Even as the silver medallist in the last Olympic Games, Uran finds himself as the least successful of his teammates this season, but sees his form coming on. "I have found good form. I believe that I have raced well and have prepared well. San Sebastian was a good test of the condition," he said.
Uran previewed the course in June and said it is a hard route. "I think it is one for the climbers," Uran said. "A circuit with a climb if nine kilometres at the end that can make a difference - and three laps - as well as humidity, and that you are racing on a different continent."
Although he aims to repeat his medal performance, Uran said the experience in London is something that he will always have. "And competing for Colombia always brings joy and happiness. I have very good memories. And being able to provide a medal for my fellow Colombians brings a huge amount of satisfaction."
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