Rigoberto Uran of Omega Pharma Quick Step rode the individual time trial of his life in Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia today, the 2012 runner-up smashing the times set by his rivals and taking the race leader’s pink jersey from BMC Racing’s Cadel Evans.
Uran, who has never won an individual time trial before, went around the 41.9km course from Barbaresco to Barolo in 57 minutes 34 seconds, 1 minute 17 seconds ahead of second placed Diego Ulissi of Lampre-Merida, with Evans securing third, a further 17 seconds back.
The first Colombian to lead the Giro d’Italia, Uran now lies 37 seconds ahead of Evans in the overall standings, with Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka, leader of the best young rider’s classification, lying third a further minute and a quarter down.
Ulissi had set the time for the top men in the general classification to aim for, beating the previous best time, put in by Thomas De Gendt of Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
On a rainy afternoon in Piedmont, Giant-Shimano’s Tobias Ludvigsson crashed badly while descending through a wet corner, losing control of his bike and ending up in a roadside ditch.
Initial fears over how badly he was hurt were allayed as he was later seen sitting up, but it was clear his race was over. His team subsequently said he is “okay,” but he has been taken to hospital to be checked over.
Another rider who crashed today was two-time Giro champion Ivan Basso of Cannondale, who came down 4 kilometres from the finish and drops out of the top 10 overall.
Following his victory, Uran said: “To win the time trial has great significance for me personally, for my team, and for Colombia, and to take the Maglia Rosa as well is a nice surprise. There’s a long way to go, of course, and the real mountains are still ahead of us, but today is important.
"I came here twice to look at the route. I worked hard with Specialized and went to the wind tunnel in California. I rode well in the time trial at the Tour of Romandie. During the race today, I was given repeated updates on Cadel Evans’ times, and I think it made a difference. I wanted to do well today, but I didn’t expect to win and take the jersey.”
Referring to his performances earlier in the seaso he said: “I wanted to do well in Tirreno-Adriatico and in the Tour of Catalonia, but I had stomach trouble so, when the results didn’t come, the team re-focused entirely on the Giro.
"We’re here in good health, with a great team, and we want to do well in the Giro d’Italia. I’m 27 years old, still young, but I’ve already been professional cyclist for 9 years and I think it was time I started getting results like this. I used to win time trials in Colombia, when I was still a junior.”
Uran, who finished second to Astana's Vincenzo Nibali in last year's Giro where he became Team Sky's leader after Sir Bradley Wiggins left the race, added: “I’ve learned a lot since last year. I moved to Omega Pharma-Quick-Step to be the team’s leader in the 3-week tours, and I’ve worked hard. In Ireland we were very clear about this: we said we were here to win the Giro, and that’s what we’re aiming at.”
As for his biggest rival, he said: “There isn’t just one. There are many rivals here: Quintana, Evans, Majka, Pozzovivo. The final week, the hard stages, are still ahead of us.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.