Racing returns to Colorado with the inaugural Colorado Classic – a four-day stage race in #GreenArgyle’s home state of Colorado that is paired with a four-day music festival dubbed Velorama. Cannondale-Drapac bring Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran and Colorado natives Taylor Phinney and Alex Howes as part of the squad’s six-man line-up. Denver Post spoke to team boss Jonathan Vaughters about Uran’s inclusion in the Colorado roster and the team’s goals for its home race.
Less than three weeks away from his second-place finish at the 21-stage Tour de France, the red-hot Colombian Rigoberto Uran is coming into the Colorado Classic with something to prove.
“He has no intention of just riding around. He wants to win the race and he’s made that very clear,” said Jonathan Vaughters, the Colorado cycling legend who serves as boss for the scrappy, Boulder-based Cannondale-Drapac team that has elevated Uran as its primary weapon against World Tour teams with much deeper pockets. “We are showing up to help him win. The team is there to back him up.”
Few professional cyclists have a story like the 30-year-old Uran, who is known in the pro cycling circle as “Rigo.” He grew up poor in northwest Colombia. At age 14, his father was gunned down just outside his hometown. He worked selling lottery tickets but pedaled hard, eyeing the bike as his way to bring his family out of poverty. Turning pro at age 16, with permission from his mom, he quickly rose to regional and national prominence. In 2011, he joined the U.K.’s heavy-hitting Team Sky, riding largely in support of superstars such as Chris Froome. The next year he won an Olympic silver medal for Colombia in the London Games road race. Last year he joined Cannondale-Drapac — known as the Argyle Armada — as the team’s big gun and he is now one of the most popular athletes in Colombia, with hundreds of thousands of fans hanging on his social media posts. His profile only grew as he emerged as a contender in last month’s Tour de France.
Despite his success, everyone around Uran talks about his unwavering work ethic. He didn’t go home after the Tour de France, opting instead to pedal in Boulder and acclimate for the Colorado Classic.