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Giro d’Italia runner-up Rigoberto Uran is set to target both the Tour de France and the Giro in 2015, with the Colombian deciding on a dual programme in conjunction with his Etixx-QuickStep team.
Uran has placed second in the past two editions of the Giro and likes the look of the 2015 event.
“I saw the parcours and I think I can do well,” he said. “It is suited to my skills. There is also a long time trial. Everyone knows I work a lot on the time trial discipline in order to improve my performance.
“I think that an approach similar to the one we had last year, such as reconnaissance and specific training, means I can do well again.”
He feels an affinity with the race due to its blend of demands and also his past history in it. “In the past two years I was on the overall podium of the Giro, so of course my objective is to be there among the best.
“The Giro is a special race where anything can happen at any moment, but my goal is to be there and ready for the race no matter what can happen each day. I can count on a great team that now has one year more of experience in the big stage races. They know how to do it and they are even more motivated to do well there.”
He added that he has a strong support from fans in Italy, including a supporters’ club in Gavardo, Brescia, that supports him whatever his results.
Uran hasn’t ridden the Tour de France since 2011, when he was 23rd at 24 years of age, but has committed to heading back there again. He will thus follow the same Grand Tour programme as Alberto Contador, who has declared that he will try to shine in both events.
“I already rode the Tour de France in 2009 and 2011. In 2011 I wore the white jersey for six days. It was an unforgettable experience. I am really happy to come back to this race, one of the top races in the world.
“I know it is difficult to do the Giro and the Tour at a high level, but as you know I like to think about things race-by-race and I am able to focus on two different objectives during my season in this way.”
Conscious of the demands of trying to recover in time, he said that his main aims for the Tour will be to rediscover the race and also to hunt stage wins. That said, he stated that he hoped to do well in the final week and also to help his Omega Pharma Quick Step team-mates where possible.
Before then, he has planned a structure schedule of racing in order to be in peak form for those two Grand Tours.
He will get things underway with the Colombian national time trial and road championships on February 7 and 8, believing that both races should suit him.
“I start with the ambition that I’d like to win the time trial, and do the best I can in the road race. It would be an honour to wear the Colombian champion jersey in the European races, and be like an ambassador of my country. But I know the competitors are strong.
“The level is growing a lot in the last years. So it won’t be easy. But in any case it will be a great experience for me.”
He added that he hasn’t raced in Colombia in several years due to his commitments abroad, and so competing in front of his fans will be a plus for both him and they.
Uran’s European debut will be in the Classic Sud Ardeche on February 28. After that his schedule sees him ride Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. He will then to go on to the Volta ao Catalunya and the Tour de Romandie as his final build-up events for the Giro.
“I am really excited about my program and the races I have to do,” he said. “We chose a different approach than last year. In 2014 I started my season in Tour of Oman. This year we decided to change my race calendar a bit [due to the double Grand Tour programme].”