After the titles of Carapaz in the Giro and Bernal in the Tour, the continent could make a historic triplet in world cycling
Cyclists during the stage in La Vuelta a España. / Via REUTERS
LatinAmerican Post |Sebastián Castillo
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Leer en español: Latinoamérica cerca de hacer historia en la Vuelta a España
The Tour of Spain 2019 is already underway. The third big race of the season could mark a before and after in the history of cycling in Latin America, since, after the titles of Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz in the Giro d'Italia and Colombian Egan Bernal in the Tour de France, Latin America is close to making a historical triplet.
Undoubtedly, the South American riders, mainly the Colombian ones, are candidates to keep the title of the Iberian round, in its 74th edition. In total, there are 11 Colombian runners who are currently representing on the Tour. Of which, 4 are the main leaders of their teams: Niaro Quintana (Movistar), Miguel Ángel López (Astana), Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott).
According to Javier Guillén, official director of the competition, Colombian cyclists have great chances of fighting for the general classification. “'Superman' López, Quintana, and Urán sure play a good role. It is possible for a Latino to win here and complete the big three (races) of this year,” said the director in an interview for the newspaper Marca.
Like Guillen, Lisandro Rengifo, a journalist for the newspaper El Tiempo, believes that Colombian runners, mainly López, Quintana, and Urán, are part of the favorite lot to keep the Tour of Spain.
“The chances of a Colombian winning are many. There is still the whole mountain to climb and most are good at that point of the race. The main rival they will have is Primoz Roglic, who is excellent against the clock ” said the journalist in an interview with LatinAmerican Post.
Read also: Egan Bernal, the cyclist of the future
On the other hand, Alberto Contador, champion of Spain Tour (2008, 2012-2014), Giro (2008-2015) and Tour (2007-2009), said that one of the great candidates to win the Iberian race this year is the leader from Astana, Miguel Ángel López.
"It's difficult to say a name because you don't know how each runner will arrive. If I have to choose, I would say that both Roglic and ' Superman' López are two cyclists especially motivated for the Tour. I think maybe they are the two top favorites ... With 8 finals High stage is essential not to have bad days. But I think the Fraction of Andorra will be very hard in which you can lose a lot of time. In addition, the time trial will be a good opportunity to see the state of the platoon," said the former cyclist in an interview for Eurosport.
"We must also be very attentive to how Alejandro Valverde goes after having been on the Tour and Nairo Quintana, to see how he is after the matter of the change of equipment," added the Spaniard.
Finally, the expert Santiago Botero, who was the leader of the Iberian round in 2001, said that in cycling everything can happen and that he cannot ensure that a Colombian will win the race. However, he said it is very important to have them in the favorites.
“Real possibilities of winning the race, have them Nairo and Lopéz. However, it is time to look at the evolution of each cyclist and the behavior in the high mountains. Colombians should take advantage when the race is broken,” Botero said exclusively for LatinAmerican Post.
"The direct and more complicated rival for the 'beetles', especially for what goes well in the time trial, is Primoz Roglic ... The advantage, so to speak, for Colombians is that they are good climbing and I do not think that Roglic can follow their continuous attacks on the mountain, ” added the Antioquia.
If a Colombian biker wins the Tour of Spain 2019, Latin America would match the deed made by the United Kingdom last year, when three Britons won the three great races of world cycling.
It should be remembered that last season Christopher Froome, of the Sky Team, won the Giro, his teammate Geraint Thomas the Tour and the Mitchelton-Scott rider, Simon Yates the Tour.
This is still an unprecedented record, which could be matched this 2019 by Latin America. At the moment, this part of the world has the title of Carapaz (Giro) and Bernal (Tour) and dreams of that of the Vuelta, to achieve a historical triplet.