Tour Colombia: Mid-race reflections

We’re three stages down, three stages still to race at Tour Colombia 2.1. Rigoberto Uran currently sports race leader’s orange. Dani MartínezDani Martinez wears best young rider’s white. While we’ve had an undeniably successful first half of the Colombian stage race, we’re not resting on our laurels. Our biggest ambitions lie in the racing still to come.

 

EF Education First Pro Cycling Team won the opening stage team time trial in Medellín, celebrating together on the podium where Rigoberto UránUran picked up every jersey but the best young rider jersey.

 

“The team came together really well today, and pulled off an upset victory which is always my favorite thing to do when nobody expects that to happen,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “When everyone is thinking, ‘Oh they’ll probably get third or fourth,’ and then you pull it off, it’s always fun.”

 

The team defended its general classification objectives by ceding the overall lead to stage two winner Alvaro Hodeg (DQT).

 

“It’s nice to have the jersey with Rigo in Colombia but I want to say that I’m happy we lost it,” sport director Juanma Garate said in La Ceja on Wednesday. “If we were smart, this would be the outcome. To save energy for one day can make the difference at the end of the week.”

 

The well-considered tactical determination did not offer Garate’s squad the energy-saving stage he had hoped. Hodeg fell off the pace early, leaving EF Education First to pick up the work or risk losing the jersey.

 

“When I saw Hodeg got dropped, I understood we had the responsibility to defend the jersey. I changed strategy when Hodeg was dropped. I got on the radio and said: ‘Guys, now we stay together. Now we have the responsibility to defend the jersey.’ I knew we could have the jersey back if Alaphilippe did not win the stage,” Garate explained. “We put in some energy with Alex [Howes] and Taylor PhinneyTaylor [Phinney] to come closer to the breakaway and to open the possibility to be in the leader’s jersey tomorrow.”

 

It was energy profitably expended. Uran heads tops the general classification as the race returns to Medellín.

 

Images: Getty Images, Harry Dowdney (Rapha), Hannah Troop (EF Pro Cycling), Santiago Munera Restrepo

 

Want to learn more about Colombia? Visit ef.com.