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The Vuelta could be Rigoberto Uran’s last chance to win a grand tour

The Vuelta a España could present the best chance for Rigoberto Urán to finally win a grand tour, his team director said.

EL PUIG, Spain (VN) — This year’s Vuelta a España may present the final opportunity for Rigoberto Urán to win a grand tour, says team EF Education First’s sport director Juan Manuel Gárate.

“I think so, it’s probably is one of the last chances for him, the years are passing for him too and the young riders coming and this year the Vuelta is totally open,” Gárate said.

Urán, the 32-year-old star of Colombian cycling, is riding on a high after finishing seventh place in the Tour de France behind Egan Bernal (Ineos), the first winner from Urán’s home country.

“And [Urán] knows that he has a really good opportunity,” Gárate said. “And the team we have here, I’m proud of them. I’m pretty sure that we can become really until the last line to win this Vuelta.”

Three Americans are helping Urán in his overall quest: Tejay van Garderen, Lawson Craddock and Logan Owen, the last who is riding his first Grand Tour.

Urán’s 18 Grand Tours include second overall twice in the Giro d’Italia and second in the 2017 Tour de France behind Chris Froome. In that Tour, Urán also won the Chambéry stage.

In this Vuelta a España, the climbs and time trials suit Urán. The team nearly won the opening time trial thanks to a massive closing pull by van Garderen and Urán escaped the next day with Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

The only downside: Urán crashed mid-stage in day four on Tuesday. Gárate said that the cuts superficial on his left arm.

“The time trial in Pau is made just for him, hilly and then when the last 10K a little more flat, but I think is really for him,” continued Gárate.

“All the stages in general. I mean, we have for some really steep finals that maybe are not like the best finals for him. But the condition is really good, the motivation is good, the team is great. And the spirit into the team is really high. So we look for the maximum.”

Importantly Urán looks immediately ready in a Vuelta that is clearly front-loaded. The stage to Calpe blew up and saw him ride clear of rivals. It revealed he is in form after three weeks of the Tour, and that others, like Ineos, are not here to win the race overall.

“I didn’t expect to see a second stage like that, riders arriving one by one,” Gárate laughed. “I never expected it honestly. We planned to ride really hard the last climb to really reduce the main group, but in the end, it was even harder than I expected.”

Brit Hugh Carthy, who rode impressively in the Giro d’Italia this May, set up the move for Urán. His strength and the Americans’ give Gárate faith that Urán can finally win a grand tour