Colombia faces a new edition of the Tour de France, this time with only three riders, of great stature, with experience, seasoned men who each seek their goals: Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic), Daniel Martínez (Ineos) and Rigoberto Urán (EF).
The paths of the three have been different this year. After Egan Bernal’s accident last January, aspirations to win the race came crashing down.
(Rigoberto Urán: this was his fall in stage 2 of the Tour de France, video)
(Daniel Martínez reveals the keys to go for the Tour de France podium)
The Ineos team cyclist is the only one who can stand up to the Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, who are one step above him, because the others are three.
Quintana will make his ninth Tour, he was second in 2013 and 2015 and third in 2016. This year he has regained confidence. He won the Tour de la Provence, the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes, both with stage wins, he was fifth in the Country-Nice and fourth in the Tour of Catalonia.
The 32-year-old rider is one of the season’s winners in Colombian statistics.
The cyclists of the country have obtained 39 victories and he, next to Sergio Higuita, he has harvested four, those named above, and was second in the second day of the Maritime Alps and third in the third section of the Tour of Catalonia.
His goal is to go for the general classification and he did a good time on Friday. “If I finished seventh it would be a disappointment, if I finished top five it would be a good result.” pointed out the leader of the Arkea’s ranks.
The issue is not so clear. Nairo has shown that he has cycling to be in a top 10, but the idea of going for the podium is very high, although he will think about it for a reason. The last few years have not been the best for him.
It has been five seasons in which it has not climbed into a drawer, since the 2017 Giro d’Italia, when Tom Dumoulin defeated him.
Daniel, the appointed
Martínez has options to reach higher. The Ineos runner can fight for the podium and, depending on the conditions of the race, whatever happens, he can even aspire to victory in the general classification.
His year has been exceptional: third in the Tour of the Algarve, national time trial champion, third in Paris Nice, 29th in the Grand Prix de Denain-Porte du Hainaut, won the Tour of the Basque Countryone stage, was fifth in the Fleche Wallonne, fourth in the Liège Bastogne Liège and finished eighth in the Tour of Switzerland.
Live a good time and the Tour is ideal for your conditions. There is mountain and 53 kilometers to the clock, but he is doing well in both efforts.
It will be the third time on the Tour, in 2018 he finished 36th and in 2020 he was 19th, with a stage win included.
Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates and Martínez are part of a list that seeks to reconquer the most important cycling event in the world, the one they have not won since 2019, when Bernal won the general classification.
It is clear that by background the Colombian should be the leader, but that must be confirmed on the road. Thomas comes from winning the Tour of Switzerland, that’s valid, but his previous races have not been good.
Yates hasn’t shown off either, but you have to pay him that he comes from overcoming covid-19.
He has even said that he does not know how he arrives at the Tour and that he had a bad time with the disease, so for all of the above, Martínez has everything to win, although Yates has been working to be the leader in the competition French.
Uran, an unknown
The EF confirmed Urán on the payroll, who will be the seed, but it is a great unknown. On Friday the time trial went poorly, he lost 1 min 08 s to Pogacar, the favourite. On Saturday he crashed twice, even though he came in with the same time as the main batch.
Last April, in the Vuelta a Romandía he had to withdraw due to a fall, a fracture of the left scapula. He returned on June 12 to compete in the Tour of Switzerland, but tested positive for covid-19.
This year, Rigo has been 14th in the Tirreno-Adriatico, tenth in the Basque Country, was 42nd in the Walloon Flecha and left in Romandie and Switzerland.
It will be his ninth Tour, he was second, behind Chris Froome, in 2017. Although Colombia does not have a good number of cyclists in this edition of the race, there is material to be the protagonist and with Martínez you can fight for the podium and, why not, the title, because neither Pogacar, nor Roglic nor Daniel himself they have nothing fixed.
(Tour de France 2022: this is how the classifications go, after stage 2)
(Tour de France 2022: who is the cyclist who runs and has covid-19?)
Editor of THE TIME
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