|Rigobert Uran at the start of Giro 2013|
Yes, that's the word and it's apropriate: "For the team it will be a kind of milestone" DS Davide Bramati says "For the first time in years, the team will be present with ambitions to do well in the GC and support a rider who was already on the podium last year: Rigoberto Uran."
It has not been with OPQS, actually, that the Colombian stepped up there but it's true that he has got the engine to do it and hopefully to repeat. For the first time in years OPQS acquired a serious Giro's contender - and Team Sky lost him I'll add. In fact the British team had entered the Corsa Rosa confident enough in the British leadership of Bradley Wiggins and had some trouble in rearranging its disciplinated but upset squad to support Uran. At first Uran, already in GC 2nd place, had been even stopped to drag to the finish a finished Wiggins. So in the end you can't even say that Uran stepped up there 'with Sky'. He did it on his own, maybe with a little help by the other Colombians in the race. Lets see if the trick still works but no doubt that Uran is a terrific big tours rider. Just to remember, all started with the Best Youth's White Jersey in a beautiful pink Milano. The last one.
Bramati sounds fairly excited about the realistic chance that Uran could win the Giro. It is possible, even likely. He's one of the main favourites in the race. According to the big chance... "even our approach to the race has changed compared to prior years." he explains "We did some recon on the key stages and the riders that have to stay near Uran did a unique race program to be in top condition for this race. Everyone knows the goal which is to try to do well with Uran and give him full support to fight for a top GC place in the last week of the Giro."
That's wise. You can start with a strong leader but that's nothing if he lacks the support of a suitable team, not only strong but dedicated. "The team is strong and is complete." Bramati says "We have a group of climbers such as Serge Pauwels, Gianluca Brambilla, Wout Poels, and Pieter Serry, who will have the task of escorting Uran in the high mountains. We have great, quality workers like Iljo Keisse and Julien Vermote for the flat stages. Then we have Alessandro Petacchi, who can utilize his experience for the service of the team and maybe do something good in the sprints. Then we also have Thomas De Gendt. He was on the podium in 2012. He knows the race, which is important and can be helpful for Uran for the race." It sounds strong and I think it IS strong. I'm glad to see that a classy rider like De Gendt has found a collocation worth of him.
The goal is clearly set and it leads the schedule for the whole three weeks: "The first stages in Ireland it will be important to start well" Bramati said "We will have to pay attention to the wind and the nervousness. In the first days there is always a bit of chaos. The roads will be narrow in Ireland, so we have to be focused. The stages in Italy will have to be handled day-by-day with a goal to be present in the last week."
Indead: everybody's eyes are on the last week. It's a very hard Giro, a demanding race since the start so saving energy will be important as well as being cleaver. But everybody seem to share the opinion that the Giro is going to be decided in the last week. "Starting with the weekend before the second week of racing, every day will be difficult. We will have five high mountain stages with summit finishes in the last eight stages. We will have the 26.8km individual time trial on the Cima Grappa, which is the 18th stage. So, really, it's a tough week. The team has to be there to do well in that last week. Every day can include a key moment for the overall. We have to be consistent, there is no room for an off-day in terms of performance because it will be too difficult to recover from with such a challenging route."
And with no Mark Cavendish in the Giro all the team focus goes to the GC. Expect a great show.
|09.05–01.06||Giro d'Italia (ITA) WT|
|Riders||Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Thomas De Gendt (BEL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)
Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
Wout Poels (NED)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL)
Julien Vermote (BEL)
|Sports Director||Davide Bramati (ITA)|
Tom Steels (BEL)
Rik van Slycke (BEL)