Rigo's Race

Rigoberto Urán’s relentlessness on Monasterio de Tentudía earns him his long-elusive Vuelta stage win.

Three is a crowd, they say. But probably not in a trophy case.

For a certain Colombian, it’s a welcomed number: Rigoberto Urán has now claimed stage victories in all three major Grand Tours: the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta de España.

Rigo had to earn it, though, and the day wasn’t without its doubts. He was part of a breakaway of 13 riders that took off 40 kilometers into the stage and stayed away for the rest of the day. Multiple attacks from rivals pushed and pulled the group on the hot, hilly ride, which eventually had a seven-minute lead over the rest of the peloton.

Just before the base of the final Category 2 climb up Monasterio de Tentudía, BikeExchange-Jayco’s Lawson Craddock made the first significant solo move of the day. He managed to stay ahead of the group, building a lead of 25 seconds as the final kilometers came.

But Urán, piloting his SuperSix EVO Leichtbau, along with Confidis rider Luís Herrada and Groupama-FDJ’s Quentin Pacher, were closing in. At the flamme rouge, Marc Soler of UAE Team Emirates and Clément Champoussin of A2GR-Citroën caught the foursome, just before Craddock faded.

The final five now charged for the line with less than 1km to go. Exhausted but patient midst the chaos, Rigo waited for his moment. Positions shifted rapidly. Champoussin broke, then Herrada caught. On his heels was Rigo. Behind Rigo was Pacher. All three men churning vigorously. Anyone’s race. Pacher seemed to be surging. He was gaining speed.

But not enough.

Rigo saw his moment. He saw his elusive Vuelta stage victory before him. He dug in. One final push. He asserted, dominated, made clear he was the fastest rider with the most experience closing in on that finish line. At just under 200m, he passed Herrada, crossing the line with Pacher off his wheel.

Rigo had finally won his Vuelta stage. He was now a member of one of the most exclusive cycling clubs in the world: those who had won stages in all three major Grand Tours.

“I have been hunting it for many years,” Rigo said after the stage. “This gives me great joy. I was looking for this win. It has been a long journey, but I am very happy.”

So are we, Rigo. So are we.