Rigoberto Uran has signed a three-year contract extension with Cannondale-Drapac that will keep him at the team until the end of the 2020 season. The Colombian placed second overall at this year's Tour de France and, although he elicited interest from other teams, he has decided to remain a part of the Slipstream Sports set-up.
"I'm very happy with the team," Uran said in a statement released by the team on Monday. "The environment here suits me. I have a lot of respect for the people that are part of the team – the mechanics, the soigneurs, the staff, my teammates. They know how to have fun off the bike and be serious when it's time to race. That's important to me."
Uran arrived at Cannondale in 2016 after previous stints at Caisse d'Epargne, Team Sky and Quick-Step. After a low-key 7th overall at last season's Giro d'Italia, Uran built his 2017 campaign around the Tour, where he won stage 9 into Chambery and reached Paris in second overall. It marked his highest finish in a Grand Tour since his second place at the 2014 Giro, and his best-ever performance at La Grande Boucle. The 30-year-old intimated that he will again target the Tour in 2018.
"A three-year contract offers security, and the team is willing to allow me to focus my season on the Tour de France. I was very happy to sign," said Uran. "I'll race many races, and I have many goals. The biggest, of course, is the Tour de France. I want to win the Tour."
Astana, Trek-Segafredo and UAE-Emirates were all reportedly interested in signing Uran, who hinted at his decision to extend with Cannondale-Drapac ahead of last week's Colorado Classic. The agreement with Uran was announced on Monday and welcomed by team manager Jonathan Vaughters, who insisted that the Colombian's fine Tour display had not been entirely unexpected despite his relative travails since leaving Quick-Step.
"Cycling is a sport where people have a bad year or two and they get written off quickly," said Vaughters. "And let me qualify that Uran's 'bad year' included a seventh place finish at the Giro d'Italia while racing with bronchitis. We knew what he was capable of."
In the final week of the Tour, it was confirmed that Slipstream Sports had secured a new sponsorship with the Oath digital media group. The team will lose a number of young talents in 2018, including Alberto Bettiol and Davide Formolo, who leave for BMC and Bora-Hansgrohe, respectively, but the re-signing of Uran is a confirmation of the team's ambition.
"We're fully prepared to support Uran in this pursuit," Vaughters said of the Colombian's desire to target overall victory at the Tour in 2018. "His ambition is one that we share, and the team is excited to work with him on his biggest goal. Rigo is a great mentor and leader. Good times and bad, he inspires people."
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