Colombia and cycling: reviving an old flame

Colombia and cycling

For more than ten years, the country hadn’t felt as excited for cycling as it does today

The history of Colombian cycling has had decades of emotional moments, but it hit its dry spot long ago. After winning medals at the London 2012 Olympics, national cycling returned to its glory and today Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Urán are the protagonists of the world’s most important competitions.

Other outstanding Colombian athletes like Esteban Chaves, Fernando Gaviria, and Julián David Arredondo, among others, brought Colombian cycling back to life. They revived the emotion and the passion that started once with 'Cochise' Rodriguez, Lucho Herrera, and Fabio Parra.

Let’s remember a couple of the most important moments in cycling in Colombian history. It all started with Martín Emilio 'Cochise' Rodríguez who won the 1971 World Championship in the 4,000-meter individual race in Varese, Italy. Even to this day, it is remembered as the first great achievement of the South American country’s history of sports. It was then followed by Alfonso Flórez Ortiz’s victory in the Tour de L'Avenir in 1980.

In 1984, one of the most well-known figures of Colombian cycling, Lucho Herrera, makes himself famous for his outstanding participation in the Alpe d'Huez stage in the France Tour. In the same race a year later, Herrera and Fabio Parra, another athlete from the South American country, achieved 1st and 2nd place.

A few years went by until Santiago Botero won the World Time Trial Championship in 2002, Colombia's first gold medal in this type of competition reminding the country of its glory days.

Since then, Colombian athletes have kept their main goals in mind: bring back the gold and revive this long-lived tradition that one made the South American country feel alive.

LatinAmerican Post | Manuela Pulido
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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