With Rigoberto Urán seemingly again to his finest type and in rivalry for a attainable top-five on this 12 months’s Tour de France, the American EF Professional Biking squad enter the second half of the race with a major diploma of optimism.
They have been within the lead of the groups’ classification for a number of days and have additionally seen Neilson Powless take two top-five stage outcomes after being in two decisive breaks.
With nearly all of the mountains nonetheless to come back, senior directuer sportif Charly Wegelius was in a buoyant temper forward of Thursday’s probably key stage that ventures into the Massif Central.
“It’s been an amazing race to this point,” the previous Italian-based professional rider stated.
“Clearly the time gaps are very shut. Some GC favourites have been eradicated however these within the top-10 are totally within the race.”
Seven riders sit inside 44 seconds of Primoz Roglic’s yellow jersey, with Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Staff Emirates) seen as Jumbo-Visma’s prime rivals. Nevertheless, Wegelius believes that the fragile stability on GC hasn’t but shone a lightweight on how the subsequent two weeks will pan out.
“I feel that Jumbo-Visma should have the lead they’ve. However the massive selections are nonetheless going to be made later within the race, about who’s going to win, and there are nonetheless numerous unanswered questions,” he stated.
“There’ nonetheless so much to stay up for. With these brief time gaps, even these which are presently with a bonus, they will’t sit on their palms and wait. It’s on everybody to race and take each probability that they’ve and to try to put as a lot distance between themselves and their rivals.”
Urán, who completed second within the Tour de France behind Chris Froome in 2017, seems to be again to his finest and the 33-year-old was inside touching distance of the highest GC riders within the Pyrenees. He additionally got here by the primary week of racing comparatively unscathed, with no main crashes on incidents.
Urán was on the suitable aspect of the break up on stage 7 into Lavaur when a mixture of Bora-Hansgrohe’s efforts and crosswinds break up the peloton into a number of echelons, and the Colombian usually manages to carry his type the deeper he goes right into a three-week race.
“Clearly Rigo is in an amazing place. He’s acquired the situation but in addition the expertise to deal with these items,” stated Wegelius.
Urán’s teammates, Sergio Higuita and Daniel Martínez, each got here into the Tour as attainable GC contenders however each riders have slipped again because the race as developed.
Martínez took a heavy fall on stage 2 and, regardless of a valiant late chase, was dropped earlier than the end. Higuita is making his Tour debut and is studying because the race goes on, however his climbing legs have nonetheless stored him contained in the top-20 on GC.
“Dani in fact was much less lucky than Rigoberto however that might be a blessing in disguise as he could have room to maneuver from long-range assaults later within the race,” Wegelius stated.
“Sergio is in an identical place to Dani. It’s his first time on the Tour, so he’s rising and studying from Rigo and I’m positive that he’ll have possibilities later within the race as nicely.”