ESPN’s Bonnie Ford spoke to Rigoberto Uran, Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters and Cannondale-Drapac sport director Charly Wegelius on in Le Puy on Monday. The story she crafted from these conversations creates a vivid picture of Rigoberto Uran’s surprise rise to yellow jersey contender status in the third week of the Tour de France.
Rigoberto Uran fields the question practically every day here at the Tour de France: “What do you have to say to the people of Colombia?”
It’s a big responsibility. Uran bears it with good humor. Monday, sitting in front of a small thicket of microphones set up on a sidewalk between the Cannondale-Drapac bus and the team’s rest-day hotel, he grinned and said, “No pierdan tanto trabajo mirando toda la etapa todos los dias.” Translation, “Don’t miss too much work watching the whole stage every day.”
Sage advice, but unlikely to be followed by a country and a continent awaiting its first Tour champion. So fervent is the interest in Uran back home that Colombian radio reporters somehow obtained the cellphone number of Cannondale-Drapac bus driver Andrea “Biso” Bisogno — an Italian who speaks Spanish and occasionally serves as Uran’s translator — and have been pelting him with requests.
Beneath the table where Uran sat Monday, he was balanced on his toes, feet pointed and calves flexed, like a dancer. He has a gift for being simultaneously relaxed and vigilant, for taking his work seriously without being self-serious. He is a no-drama guy in a dramatic situation.