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Carapaz and Vaughters benefit from Urán’s decision to keep racing

Veteran rider signs contract extension, as first reported by VeloNews.

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Rigoberto Urán has announced that he will continue racing for EF Education-EasyPost for another two years.

The news that Urán would prolong his career was first reported by VeloNews in late September following the veteran’s stage win at the Vuelta a España. Urán had been contemplating retirement earlier this year and the team was waiting on him to make a decision on his future, but news of his contract renewal is a huge boost for the American team and its 2023 grand tour leader, Richard Carapaz.

Carapaz was signed by EF team CEO Jonathan Vaughters team over the summer, and the Olympic road champion from Ecuador will benefit hugely from having Urán at the Tour de France. The Colombian’s career has spanned the European peloton across three decades, and while he might not be the grand tour leader he once was, he can provide vital support for both Carapaz and a number of young riders within the team. It’s a re-signing that makes sense for all those involved.

Also read: All aboard the sport director merry-go-round as WorldTour teams reshape staffing

“Rigo helped save this organization on more than one occasion,” Vaughters said in a press release on Friday. “He’s a leader, by example. Not by force. He’ll be invaluable in guiding the younger riders on this team. To me, Rigo isn’t just a team member, he’s a true partner and member of our family.”

Urán joined the team from QuickStep in 2016 and finished second in the Tour de France a year later. While crashes have certainly taken a toll on the 35-year-old’s body, he has still managed to pick up six top-10 finishes in grand tours since his arrival. More than that, he has become a talisman for a team that struggled for identity and leadership following an exodus of riders due to financial pressures placed on the team. Vaughters is entirely correct when he says that Urán has helped rescue the team throughout his tenure in Argyle and pink.

For 2023, and 2024, it’s highly likely that Urán will remain competitive, but his primary role over the next two years will be to act as a guide and mentor to the young riders coming through the ranks. Carapaz will also rely on his fellow South American when it comes to super-domestique duties at the Tour de France.

In many ways, Carapaz takes over the mantle of team leader from Urán, but the former Ineos rider will know that in order to challenge for a podium in July he will need a rider like Urán at his side to guide the team through difficult moments.

“I decided to keep racing because I like it,” Urán said. “I have a lot of passion for what I do. My life is on the bike.”

“I’ve been racing for many years. You don’t always find a team like this. EF Education-EasyPost is like a family. I really get on well with the team. Everyone is very professional. It’s a team that gives you a lot of opportunities. It’s a team that allows you to try a lot of things. You have opportunities to show your talent in grand tours and in other races. You don’t find this with a lot of teams so I knew I wanted to continue with the team. It’s a team that I love.”

“Now we have a lot of young riders so I try to support the young ones and share what I’ve learned over the years. I try to be a great friend to everyone because sometimes that’s what you need.”

Urán, EF and Carapaz need each other in equal measure.