Rigoberto Uran's Giro d'Italia time trial stage win puts him in the coveted maglia rosa

Rigoberto Urán won the Giro d’Italia‘s time trial to Barolo and became the first Colombian in race history to wear the leader’s pink jersey. He put 1-34 minutes into former race leader Cadel Evans to take head the general classification by 37 seconds.

“This Giro d’Italia means a lot to me and today I was able to go better than I thought to get this pink jersey,” Urán said. “I’ve worked in the wind tunnel and I’ve worked on my time trial bike to get this result.”

The first-place result also marked the 27-year-old’s first time trial win. He steadily improved over the years. With Sky, he won the best young rider’s jersey of the 2012 Giro. Last year, he placed 12th behind winner Alex Dowsett in the 54.8-kilometre Saltara time trial.

The team Omega Pharma rider pushed Diego Ulissi out of the hot seat to win the 42.2-kiloemetre stage through Piedmont’s win hills. He won by 1-17 minutes over Ulissi. He put 1-34 into Rafal Majka, who sits third overall at 1-52.

Colombian Nairo Quintana lost 2-41. He now sits in sixth at 3-29.

Quintana, not Urán, was seen as the race favourite when the Giro left Belfast a week and a half ago. He placed second overall behind Chris Froome and won the young rider’s white jersey at the Tour de France last year.

Including Quintana and Urán, 14 Colombians began this year’s Giro. Nine are part of team Colombia, a team sponsored by the private companies and the government but based in Italy. However, none has worn the pink jersey, or maglia rosa, until today.

Traditional cycling-strong countries Italy, Belgium and Spain lead the way in pink jersey counts. Italians pulled on the top 1163 times, Belgians 158 and Spaniards 125.

Urán also positioned himself to become the Giro’s first Colombian winner in a week and a half’s time, on June 2, in Trieste.

“Am I the favourite? I feel like I’m going well but we still have all the hard stages to come in the mountains,” Urán said. “We have a good team, though, and I’m feeling good about this Giro.

“I left Sky and joined Omega Pharma to have my chance to lead a Grand Tour team. I placed second last year. This year, I came here ready to win.”

The Giro hits the high mountains after tomorrow with stage to the Oropa Sanctuary. The 11.8-kilometre climb kicks off the Giro’s final mountain phase and run east towards Trieste with stages to Val Martello, Panarotta and Monte Zoncolan.