It has not been Colombia’s year at the World Cup, but could the nation’s sporting luck be about to change with the Tour de France? Six riders from the South American nation are are hoping so, as one rider cracks into the top 10 and another takes home two of the first five stages.
The best of the Colombian contingent is Rigoberto Urán. The 31-year-old member of Team Cannondale is working hard to improve upon his second-place finish in last year’s Tour. He currently sits in 10th place, 35 seconds off the pace of Belgian race-leader Greg Van Avermaet – a solid result at the fifth stage of the 21-phase, 3500 kilometre race.
However, the rider from Urrao in Antioquia will be ruing what could have been in the fourth stage on Tuesday. The cyclist was left frantically chasing the race leaders five kilometres from the finish-line after becoming caught in a pile-up. The crash split the main group, but Urán pedelled hard to eventually rejoin the field.
Fellow countryman and rockie rider Fernando Gaviria fared much better in the stage. Gaviria earned his second win of this year’s Tour, winning the stage from La Baule to Sarzeau in Brittany by outsprinting Peter Sagan of Slovakia. It was a hard-fought win for the 23-year-old Gaviria as he battled for the lead in the last four-kilometres leading to the line. The youngster, from La Ceja in Antioquia, has impressed at this year’s competition after taking home the first yellow jersey of the Tour last week. Affectionately nicknamed quetzal splendente after a tropical bird whose colours reflect the rainbow of Gaviria’s world championship titles, pundits believe he is one sprinter to watch this year.
Rounding out the Colombian contingent is Egan Bernal, at 39th place, and Nairo Quintana, Darwin Atapuma, and Daniel Martínez, who are all outside of the top 50.
Stage 5 of the Tour continues on the medium mountain stage from Lorient to Quimper today. The Tour de France will run until July 29, and it remains to be seen whether Urán can one-up himself and bring the yellow jersey home.
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