Prior to this year’s Tour de France it was generally assumed here in Colombia that Nairo Quintana was Colombia’s best chance at a podium spot. However, it was his compatriot Rigoberto Uran who stormed to a surprise 2nd place finish yesterday in Paris, with a final time of 86H 21′ 49”, just 54 seconds behind Great Britain’s Chris Froome. Quintana had a somewhat quiet tour, ending up in 12th place, more than 15 minutes behind the winner. His decision to compete in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour now seems a misguided one: Froome chose to focus on France, and it looks to have been a sensible call.
Uran, who hails from the small Antioquia town of Urrao, has proven to be a popular figure in Colombia in recent weeks, with his light-hearted attitude and regular use of paisa slang endearing him to the millions of Colombians who follow the Tour. Cycling is second in popularity only to football in Colombia, and Uran looks set to become a hugely popular athlete following this result.
Uran has also had a tough road to the top. His father was killed by paramilitaries when he was just 14 years old in 1991, and he was forced to work selling lottery tickets in order to support his family. His talent as a cyclist was later discovered by a local cycling team, and since then he has enjoyed a solid career in the sport. This Tour de France finish though is certainly the high-water mark of his career so far. Hopefully, we can look forward to much more from Rigoberto Uran in the future.