Jonathan Vaughters: “Giro is our goal for the season”

Rigoberto Uran will lead the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team into the Giro d’Italia, which begins on Friday in the Netherlands. The race features six very hard days in the mountains and also demands three separate efforts against the clock, meaning that a balanced rider such as Uran has a very good chance at winning the overall. 

“We’ve made no bones about the Giro being our target for the season. It’s a major objective for us, and the guys have trained accordingly. They’ve done the laps of the volcano; they’ve raced in rough conditions leading into this,” Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “It’s the Giro, so you’re never completely prepared, but the team is as ready as possible. Rigo’s going good, and he’s got a really good group around him. He’s got a really good shot to win.”

Uran has finished second on two occasions at the Giro, in 2013 and 2014. And the 29-year-old Colombian finished seventh in 2012.

“The whole team is totally focused and ready for work,” said Uran. “This season, I have worked more in Europe and have made several highly focused efforts to prepare.”

“Rigo’s our leader going into the Giro because we like his toughness over three weeks. He’s a resilient, smart racer. Consistency is key to winning a grand tour, and that’s what I see in Rigo,” Vaughters said. “He may lack the raw horsepower of Nibali, but he’s a deeply intelligent rider. And as a person, he’s the guy the rest of the team wants to support. They love the guy.”

The squad that Cannondale Pro Cycling brings is completely dedicated to the GC pursuit. Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Andre Cardoso, Simon Clarke, Joe Dombrowski, Davide Formolo, Moreno Moser, and Ramunas Navardauskas are ready to support the team’s ambitions at the Giro. Clarke will serve as road captain — an invaluable element in a race as hectic and difficult as the Giro.

“He’s our road captain because of his leadership and intelligence. He’s the best out there. And, unlike many of the other road captains, he’s never dropped early in the hills. He’s there to lead until the bitter end,” Vaughters said.

Dombrowski makes his first Giro start and, along with Formolo and Cardoso, is a vital cog in the machinery needed to win the Giro.

“I’m looking forward to coming into the race with a clear leader and clear objective, with the experience of having ridden my first grand tour last year,” Dombrowski said. “I’m hoping to be a good support rider for Rigo, particularly in the mountain stages later in the race. Additionally, I’m looking forward to the stage over Col de la Bonette. I’ve spent a lot of time training at altitude in that area because it is close to where I am based in Nice. The riding is stunning, and I have friends and family that are going to be out on the road watching.

Formolo, for his part, was just counting the days this week. “It’s Giro time,” he said. “I’m good. It’s unlucky I crashed in Romandie, but I’ll fix everything in the next couple days. I’m ready to fight.”

This Giro has been a long time coming for the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and something the group has put complete focus on.

“We are very happy with how the team is functioning. The riders from this group have all come into form at the right time,” head sport director Charly Wegelius said. “We can look towards the Giro with confidence.”

The Giro begins on Friday, May 6 with a short, opening time trial in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. It concludes 20 stages later in Torino, Italy on Sunday, May 29.