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EF Pro Cycling in the catbird seat after Tour of Colombia’s opening team time trial

Rally Cycling fastest non-WorldTour squad

An early-season clash of Colombian titans in their home tour started Tuesday with a 16.7-km team time trial raced on road bikes, and it was EF Pro Cycling sitting pretty after the win. It’s the second consecutive time that EF has won the Tour of Colombia time trial. Rally Cycling posted the best time of the non-WorldTour outfits, although its sole Canadian couldn’t finish with the gang.

The Tour of Colombia 2.1 has established itself as a fine setting for February climb-offs in its first two season. Last year Angel Lopez out-dueled Ivan Sosa, while in 2018 Egan Bernal clipped Nairo Quintana for the title with Rigoberto Uran third.

On Tuesday, Rally was in the hot seat for a while with a time of 19:00; however, Canadian Rob Britton finished nearly 1:50 back of his teammates.

Similar to Britton, Rigoberto Uran couldn’t stay attached to the Pink and Purple Armada, and he is no longer a real GC threat. However, Jonathan Vaughters has two Colombian cards still to play: Sergio Aguita, the national road champ, and Daniel Martinez, the national time trial champ. Neither is in the first leader’s jersey, as Ecuadorian Jonathan Caicedo yanked on the first orange kit.

Bernal’s INEOS stopped the clock 46-seconds later, which means that his team will have to adjust their strategy for the next five stages leading into the big final showdown on the Alto del Verj√≥n climb February 16.

A second faster than INEOS in second place, Julian Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck-Quick Step put the French dynamo in good position to get something out of his South American excursion after illness saw him withdraw from the recent Vuelta a San Juan Internacional in Argentina, where Belgian teammate Remco Evenepoel won his second career stage race. Alaphilippe has won Tour of Colombia stages two years in a row.

Neither Quintana’s new Arkea-Samsic team nor “Superman” Lopez’s Astana is in Colombia this year.

Higuita, Martinez, Uran, Tejay van Garderen and Michael Woods are penciled in for a strong-looking EF Pro Cycling Tour de France squad this July. Hugh Carthy, 11th in last season’s Giro d’Italia, is slated for the Italian Grand Tour alongside van Garderen.

2020 Tour of Colombia 2.1 Stage 1
1) EF Pro Cycling 18:01
2) Deceuninck-Quick Step +0:45
3) INEOS +0:46
4) Rally Cycling +0:59