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by Neal Rogers
July 27, 2018
Photography by Cor Vos
Rigoberto Uran will race the 2018 Vuelta a España, EF Education First-Drapac boss Jonathan Vaughters confirmed with CyclingTips Thursday.
The second-place finisher of the 2017 Tour de France, Uran abandoned the Tour de France prior to Stage 12 due to injuries sustained when he hit the deck on Stage 9. Uran was sitting sixth overall after eight stages before his crash. His 2018 season results include third overall at Colombia Oro y Paz, 10th overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, and second overall at Tour of Slovenia, where he won a stage.
Along with Richie Porte and Vincenzo Nibali, Uran will be one of three Tour de France GC contenders forced to abandon the race due to injuries who will instead take his fitness, and ambition, to the Vuelta a España next month
Porte (BMC Racing) left the race after also crashing on Stage 9, fracturing his right collarbone. The Australian has confirmed that he is targeting the Vuelta in what will be his last Grand Tour for BMC Racing before he switches over to Trek-Segafredo in 2019. Porte has raced the Vuelta just once, riding for Team Sky in 2012 in support of Chris Froome, who finished fourth overall.
Porte’s 2018 season results include the overall win at the Tour de Suisse in June, third overall at the Tour de Romandie, and second overall at the Tour Down Under.
Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), who was taken down by a spectator on l’Alpe d’Huez on Stage 12, will undergo percutaneous vertebroplasty surgery next week — acrylic bone cement will be injected into his fractured vertebra, filling spaces within the bone. The Italian has expressed that he hopes to race the Vuelta as preparation for the hilly world road championship in Innsbruck.
In 2010, Nibali won the Vuelta on his first attempt; he has also finished second at the Vuelta twice, in 2013, behind Chris Horner, and in 2017, behind Chris Froome.
Nibali’s 2018 season highlight was his victory at Milan-Sanremo in March. He has not finished in the top 10 of a stage race this year, but he was sitting fourth overall when he was forced to abandon the Tour de France.
Uran, who has finished second overall twice at the Giro d’Italia, has raced the Vuelta on four occasions but never placed in the top 10. He last raced the Spanish Grand Tour in 2014, but was forced to abandon due to asthmatic bronchitis.
Other GC contenders expected at the Vuelta include Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), and 2015 Vuelta champion Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates).