Slow and steady wins the race – at least that’s what Colombian cyclist Rigoberto Urán is banking on as he slowly yet surely climbs the leaderboard at this year’s Tour de France.
The 31-year-old has risen three positions in three stages to end the week seventh overall and within striking distance of the race leaders. Urán will have his team and fellow countryman to thank for his race position, however, after a nasty crash earlier in the competition almost ruined his Tour.
The cyclist, who finished second in last year’s Tour de France, fell victim to a crash in the fourth stage to Sarzeau. The actions of fellow Colombian Daniel Martinez’s saw Urán jump on his teammate’s bike to be pushed off at speed, away from the chaos and delay. Other Cannondale teammates Simon Clarke, Sep Vanmarcke and Tom Scully also reacted quickly and dragged Urán back to the peloton at high speed.
Urán, from Urrao in Antioquia, finished 81st in the same time as stage winner and fellow Colombian Fernando Gaviria. In a race where every second counts, the quick response saved Urán valuable time. For contrast, Ilnur Zakarin lost 59 seconds after failing to tell his Katusha-Alpecin teammates via radio that he crashed: a serious blow to his overall hopes in the contest.
— Rigoberto Urán ЯU (@UranRigoberto) July 10, 2018
According to team manager Jonathan Vaughters, Martinez and Urán are close. The two Colombians share a room on the Tour and Urán considers the 22-year-old to be one to watch.
“Rigo thanked me for helping him and so did the team but I’m the one who needs to thank them. Rigo helped me step up from Wilier Triestina to WorldTour level. I’m just happy to have done what I could,” Martinez told reporters after the fourth stage.
Thanks to teamwork and consistent performances, Urán is only 48 seconds off the pace of race leader Greg Van Avermaet.
Stage seven almost brought another win for Colombia in the form of cycling prodigy Fernando Gaviria. The 23-year-old has already won two stages of the race and narrowly missed out on his third in the 231km ride from Fougères to Chartres.
The race came to life in the final 10 kilometres as the Notre-Dame Cathedral slid into view, with teams fighting for position at the front. Unfortunately for Gaviria he was pipped at the post by Dylan Groenewegen and finished second. The Tour de France will continue tomorrow with stage eight from Dreux to Amiens Metropole.
The competition continues until July 29. Follow the official Tour de France website for all the action.