The history of Colombia in the tour de France

The coffee country has had the opportunity to shine several times in the most important cycling event in the world.

Egan Bernal during the final stage of the 2019 Tour de France

Colombia has been present in the famous and most important cycling competition. / Photo: AP-Christophe Ena

LatinAmericanPost| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: La historia de Colombia en el Tour de France

In Colombia, after soccer, the sport that arouses the most passions is perhaps cycling. And it is not uncommon, since since they were little, many Colombian cyclists have bicycles as their main method of transportation, they are used to going up and down mountains at the tip of the pedal and want to.

So, the history of Colombia in the most important cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, is long. Here we decided to do a little review of the great moments that Colombians have experienced on the tour.

Lucho Herrera opens the doors to Colombia

Born in Fusagasuga, Cundinamarca, Lucho Herrera was the first Colombian, not only to participate in the Tour de France, but also to win a stage. This was stage number 17 of 1984 covering Grenoble-Alpe d'Huez. Lucho not only had the honor of being the first Colombian to win a stage, but he was also the first amateur cyclist to do so. His victory really took the world by surprise, because the real news at the time was the duel between Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault, so no one expected that a Latin American who had not shown signs of life in the race until then would take The phase.

Fabio Parra takes the podium

Many other great Colombians would win stages in the future, (including Santiago Botero, who would win one in the 2000 edition and two in 2002) but the first to step on the podium was Fabio Parra in 1988, who on that occasion was third. A native of Sogamoso, Boyacá, Parra won stage number 11 in 98, which comprised 232 km between the communes of Besanzón and Morzine. Parra would finish the race with 9 minutes and 58 behind the winner, Pedro Delgado. If we take into account that Delgado tested positive for Doping in that edition of the Tour, (an action that was not sanctioned at the time) we could say that in an ideal world, Parra was the first Colombian to finish second.

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Nairo, the monster

It would not be until the arrival of Nairo Quintana that the Colombians would once again step on the podium. The man whose name is synonymous with Colombian cycling would be second in the Tour twice and third once.

In the 2013 edition, Nairo would win stage 21 of 125 km, naturally it was a mountain stage, which included the path between Gap and Alpe D'Huez. Quintana would be second, 4 minutes and 20 seconds behind Chris Froome, the champion.

Then, in 2015, this story would repeat itself, with Nairo falling just one minute and 12 seconds behind Froome. This time, he would not win any stages.

Nairo would once again reach the podium in 2016, once again 4 minutes and 21 seconds behind Froome, but this time third.

Nairo may not have won on any of these occasions, but his determination and consistency led him to become a national hero for Colombians.

Egan gets the victory

Colombia was very close to tasting victory. Again in 2017 Rigoberto Urán would be second, with 54 seconds behind Froome. It seemed that Colombia was destined to remain behind the UK in terms of cycling.

And then, in 2019, Egan Bernal arrived. Dominant in the last two stages, Bernal, at just 22 years old, became the youngest winner of the Tour, as well as the first Latin American to be champion. With a time of 82 h and 57 minutes, he finally gave the victory to Colombia on this tour.

At the close of this edition, two Colombians, Winner Anacona and Miguel Angel Lopéz, were in the top 20 of the current edition of the Tour. Will the coffee country return to achieve a victory in the largest cycling event in the world?