Rigoberto Urán has confirmed that he will return to racing at the Tour of California next week, making his debut at the race. It will be the first race for the Colombian since he broke his collarbone at Paris-Nice in March.
On Tuesday, a press release from EF Education First announcing the mid-season signing of Sergio Higuita hinted at Urán riding the week-long race, but he confirmed the news himself to a Colombian radio station.
Higuita has already been confirmed for the team and Tejay van Garderen is expected to race, with the full seven-man squad due to be announced on Thursday.
Urán said that he is using the race to get himself ready for the Tour de France in July.
"I am making my return at the Tour of California," Urán told Radio Caracol. "The goal is to get to the start of the Tour de France in good shape."
After making his season debut at the Tour Colombia 2.1 in February, Urán headed to Europe for Paris-Nice. The opening stages were battered by crosswinds that destroyed the peloton, with several crashes happening during the chaos. Urán was one of the fallers in the final 40 kilometres of stage 2, breaking his collarbone in the accident.
In a press release, Urán explained that he had recently been given the green light to race again. Since then, he has begun training on the road and says that he is no longer feeling the effects of the injury.
"About one to two weeks ago the doctor said to me that I was going to be able to race again," Urán said. "The shoulder is fine, I have no pain, I’ve been having physio on it. I was suffering more with back pain than in the shoulder but now that’s all fine as well, so it means that I’m back to regular training again.
"Three weeks ago I started riding my bike out on the road again. Everything is going really well right now. I’m in Colombia preparing for my next race and the doctors tell me that everything is going really well."
It has been two months since Urán last raced and, with the layoff, he has only contested eight days of racing so far in 2019. With so little racing in the legs, he is eager to get back into the peloton.
"Right now I’m here in Colombia training in the mountains, working at altitude. I’m really looking forward to getting out there racing. I always want to be out there racing, I can’t wait to be back," he said.
"This year I have raced very little, I feel like I’ve just mainly been training. I love being at the races. I’m looking forward to starting back, to being with my team again."