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After a Tour de France that did not go according to plan, Rigoberto Urán will get another shot at a grand tour result this season. The Colombian is headed to Spain to head up EF Education First-Drapac squad at the Vuelta a España.
“Rigo is our leader and will contest the general classification,” said sports director Juan Manuel Gárate. “We have the space to show how good he is and how good we are with this team at the Vuelta.”
Urán, who was the overall runner-up at the 2017 Tour, did not enjoy the same success in France this July. A crash on the cobbled ninth stage saw him struggle as the race hit the mountains. He pulled out of the race after stage 11. Like BMC’s Richie Porte and Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali, he’ll hope to bounce back from his Tour crash at the Vuelta.
“I have strong guys for the climbing days, guys for the flat stages and guys for the wind,” Urán said. “I’m really happy with the team for this Vuelta, and I believe we can do something special.”
Having Mike Woods for company should help. The Canadian finished seventh overall at the Vuelta last year, although he downplayed his own hopes for a general classification bid this time around in Spain.
“After crashing at Tour of Utah, and having the wound get infected, I’ve had to adjust my expectations,” he said. “I’m not ruling out any possibilities, but based off of how I have been feeling over the past week, I am going to try and play things safe over week one and build from there.”
EF can also rely on veterans Daniel Moreno and Pierre Rolland when the road tilts up, a common occurrence in the Spanish grand tour.
Simon Clarke, who won a stage and the king of the mountains title at the 2012 Vuelta, will also make the start for EF. Sebastian Langeveld, Tom Van Asbroeck, and Mitch Docker will round out the roster for the American-based team.