Thursday, May 30, 2024

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 12; Barbaresco – Barolo (ITT), 46.4 km. Rigoberto Uran Takes Over


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Giro d'Italia logoI had it in my mind that Ulissi might do something but thought his stage 11 crash would put a lid on his ambitions. Far from it and Lampre’s new star lead for a large part of the afternoon until Rigoberto Uran jarred all of our eyes open – including Ulissi’s as he sat in the ‘hot seat.

’Time tests, love them or hate them – but this one was a cracker.

I had Evans down as winner after it became apparent that Adriano Malori was ‘just getting round’ after his crash the day before.

Rigoberto Uran
Diego Ulissi sat in the ‘hot seat’ for much of the afternoon. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

There’s just one ‘but’ regarding Uran’s performance – let’s hope his big improvement against the watch isn’t at the expense of his climbing.

The medium mountains are one thing – but the Gavia and Stelvio are another.

I remember Robert Millar working hard on his testing only for his climbing to suffer.

Rigoberto Uran
Uran won the TT by a street and takes the lead. Photo©Gian Mattia D’Alberto

But the 27 year-old Uran has certainly paid his dues; Colombian novices TT and points champion in 2003 he took the national junior pursuit, points, scratch and road titles in 2005.

By season 2006 he was pro with Irish registered (for cost purposes) but Italian based Tenax with 25th in the 1HC Giro del Lazio his best ride.

He joined ill-starred Swedish outfit Unibet for ’07 and immediately displayed promise with a stage win and top 10 on GC in the Tour de Suisse.

And he has won a pro time trial before – Stage 2b of the Euskal Bizikleta; albeit the last six riders didn’t ride due to storm conditions.

The stage was annulled but Uran was declared and is listed as winner.

So there!

The 2008 season was the first of three at Caisse d’Epargne with second on GC in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and third in the Giro di Lombardia not a bad start.

The following season wasn’t as impressive with ‘just’ fifth on GC in Romandie to write home about.

In 2010 he took top ten places in Piemonte and the GC of the Tour de Suisse.

Then in 2011 he joined Sky, where he spent three seasons, with third places in Emilia and Quebec to go with fifth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Olympic year was a good one for the Colombian, silver in London, wins in Piemonte and a stage of Catalunya, third in Lombardia and best young rider in the Giro.

Rigoberto Uran
Uran is no stranger to TT and Grand Tour wins. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Last season saw him become Pro Tour royalty with second overall in the Giro – after Brad’s head fell off – and he took two stage wins if you count the TTT.

For 2014 Patrick Lefevre spotted a prince who would be a king but found his accession blocked by other royalty with less hair and more appeal to Daily Mail readers – ‘sign here, son’ said the Belgian, and Rigoberto did.

Uran started this year quietly but has obviously got his build up right.

But it’ll be interesting come those snowy peaks…

Rigoberto Uran
ivan Basso isn’t quite finished yet. Photo©Fabio Ferrari
Rigoberto Uran
Fabio Aru is growing into his team leader role. Photo©Fabio Ferrari
Rigoberto Uran
Early leader in the Giro, Svein Tuft. Photo©Fabio Ferrari
Rigoberto Uran
Domenico Pozzovivo seems to be capable of great time trialling displays. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Ulissi was again very impressive and it’ll be also very interesting to see how he does come the mega climbs.

He’s fast in the hill top finishes, can time trial – if he can climb the ‘biggies’ then he may be the ‘saviour of Italian cycling,’ maybe.

Rigobrto Uran
Cadel Evans out recce’ing the course before the start.

Evans ride wasn’t bad – it was just that Uran’s was better; the Australian put time into all of his challengers except Uran – so not a disastrous day at the office.

Rigoberto Uran
Evans rode well, just not good enough for the win. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Albeit he only put four seconds into Rafal Majka Tinkoff’s Polish star.

Bjarne Riis has arrived on the Giro to take charge of the Pole’s podium bid – say what you like about Big Bjarne but the man knows his stuff and is cool under fire.

Rigoberto Uran.
Rafal Majka is benefitting from Riis’ attentions. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Talking of arrivals – there was Mr. Brian Cookson presenting Rigoberto after the stage.

The UCI ‘high heid yin’ had this to say to The Media about the Independent Reform Commission:

“It’s independent and so I don’t know exactly what it’s doing, we only provided the budget and chose the three very good people.

“However I know they are carrying out their work diligently. I attended an update meeting a few weeks ago and I understand that some very significant and interesting people have come forward and spoken to the commission.

“Their work is continuing around the world. There are some very interesting people coming forward. I don’t know their names but I’ve been advised their work is progressing very well.”

It’ll soon be 2015 and we’ll get their findings – I can hardly wait and am sure it will be very… ‘interesting!’

A transition stage tomorrow – will the breakaways remain at liberty or will those insatiable sprinter team attack dogs bring them to heel?

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow,

ciao, ciao.