Medellín bursts with beauty all year round. We spent a week exploring the Antioquia region…
To win a race is special no matter the circumstances. But to win a team time trial might be “one of the most special things you can do in cycling,” according to Directeur Sportif Juanma Garate. That’s exactly what the EF Education First Pro cycling squad did today in stage one of the Tour Colombia 2.1.
The first stage of Tour Colombia 2.1, a 16 kilometer team time trial in the city of Tunja, could not have gone any better. Not only did our riders win the stage, they did so in a commanding fashion, crossing the line 45 seconds ahead of Deceuninck-Quick Step, and 46 seconds ahead of Team Ineos, teams that were second and third, respectively.
The team, which included newly crowned Colombian time trial and road race champions and Dani Martínez, Ecuadorian national champion Sergio Higuita, Jonathan Caicedo, Tejay van Garderen and Rigoberto Urán, was by no means the big favorite going into the day. Lawson Craddock
“I thought we were going to win, or at least get close to winning,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “But to build up a lead of 45 seconds over a 16km course is nuts! I haven’t seen a margin of victory like that in a team time trial for probably 10 years.”
“It was a really beautiful race today.”
Team time trial wins don’t just take raw talent — they take impeccable teamwork and the support of the entire operation.
“You can always envision it going smoothly, but to actually execute it that way is sometimes harder than it seems,” says Tejay van Garderen. “To win with the margin we had shows that the entire team executed the plan perfectly.“
A reward for the team’s efforts? A leader’s jersey on the shoulders of Jonathan Caicedo. The occasion marks the first time he will wear a leader’s jersey since he joined EF Pro Cycling last season.
“The team was so happy after the stage,” says a beaming Jonathan Caicedo at the team hotel. “It’s something that means a lot to us all and we really have a lot of respect for this race and we’ll keep working hard over the coming days.”
Certainly, the most special wins are the ones where the entire team stands on the podium together. Just ask Rigoberto Urán, who made his return to racing Tuesday after his injuries at last year’s Vuelta a España.
“It was a really beautiful race today. I was feeling quite nervous because it’s been a while since I last raced, it’s been nearly five months since I had a number pinned on my back. But I felt ready, it was great to be back with the team, racing with them all again,” Urán says. “The team that we have here is at a really high level, but we need to make sure we reserve ourselves a bit, but it was such a great result. It’s great when it’s a team time trial because we all have to work so closely together and can enjoy the victory.”