After an absence of more than six months, Darwin Atapuma is back pinning on race numbers this week at the Tour of Oman, threading the pins through the red jersey of Cofidis, in which he hopes he can reignite his career after a rough couple of seasons.
In 2016, the Colombian climber finished ninth overall at the Giro d’Italia, with two podium finishes in mountain stages and also at the Vuelta a España later in the year. However, despite finishing second on the Col d’Izoard at the Tour de France in 2017, he has slumped since, swapping BMC Racing for UAE Team Emirates for 2019.
The 2018 season was particularly anonymous, even though he finished both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Before coming to Oman, he hadn’t raced since rolling into Paris on the last day of the Tour.
“In truth, it wasn’t good. I was quite inconsistent. It was quite a big drop, because of a health problem that we didn’t know about, and that meant the two years at UAE weren’t very good at all,” Atapuma told Cyclingnews in Oman.
“It was a problem that, in truth, didn’t affect me too much physically, but when I was racing, when you have to dig in and go deep, something was lacking, and that’s what was happening to me for a long time.
Atapuma insists he has got to the bottom of the problems and has had a solid block of winter training under his belt that should allow him to move through the gears in the coming months.
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