There may be time yet for Rigoberto Urán as the Colombian reconsiders the retirement that he had been planning for after the Paris Olympic Games in August.
Urán signalled in November that “I’m going to give it another year, do the Olympics, then ciao” but it seems he may have reconsidered with Colombian media reporting he has received interest to extend his illustrious career into a 20th season.
“I have no idea what is going to happen, I just received an offer for two years. I no longer made the decisions alone, there are a number of things that have to be looked at with my family and team environment,” said Urán to the program ‘Buen Día Colombia’ on Canal RCN.
The 37-year-old is by no means certain of what to do, however, weighing up both a fear of retirement itself and the unknowns presented after nearly two decades in professional sport and the crashes that could continue if he is to keep racing at the top level.
“I’m afraid of retirement and crashes. Everything in life has an end, but I am very afraid of my retirement, you have to have psychological help. High-performance athletes live in a bubble, everything is tailored to you and you get used to that life,” Urán said.
“I am also afraid of crashes, it is difficult to see the family suffer. The truth is that I am already too old for the sport.”
When Urán postponed his retirement for the first time in 2022 and extended with EF Education-EasyPost, he said “I decided to keep racing because I like it. I have a lot of passion for what I do. My life is on the bike.” Not much seems to have changed for El Toro de Urrao.
Urán has been a constant at Grand Tours since his Tour de France debut in 2009, taking stage wins at all three within a 10-year period. The Colombian twice finished second at the Giro d’Italia behind Vincenzo Nibali in 2013 and his compatriot Nairo Quintana in 2014 while also taking the runner-up spot at the Tour de France behind Chris Froome in 2017.
The previously planned endpoint of his successful career was supposed to arrive after the Paris Olympics road race on August 3rd, with Urán also taking an Olympic silver medal during his career 12 years ago in London.
Simultaneous to his success on the road was a massive increase in popularity in Europe, but particularly at home in Colombia where he is a true superstar of the sport alongside fellow successes Quintana and Tour de France winner Egan Bernal.
Urán now runs his own Grand Fondo, El Giro de Rigo, which was participated in by several Colombian pros in 2023 and Wout van Aert last Autumn, alongside having a telenovela based on his life now on RCN Television.
Despite all this and his best results being behind him, the experienced veteran doesn’t quite want to hang up his wheels. His results in 2023 were far from the Urán of old in terms of Grand Tour GC success, but a COVID-19 positive at the Giro didn’t help that and he still managed top ten results on stage at all of the Volta Catalunya, Itzulia Basque Country and Tour de Suisse.
He may feel he is “too old” but it sounds like Rigoberto Urán isn’t ready to say goodbye to professional bike racing just yet.