The current situation of Colombian cycling It has two faces: one, that of the successful generation that did not return to victories, and the other that is making its way.
Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana, Miguel Angel López, Rigoberto Urán and Esteban Chaves have not finished, but their results in recent times have not been revalidated, and runners are making their way, although not of the same stature.
“There was a downturn after the pandemic and the process was delayed. A good litter is coming, not all of them have to be Egan, Nairo or ‘Supermán’ López”, said Hernando Bohórquez, a Colombian cyclist who was part of the Astana team in 2019 and 2002.
Bernal’s injuries after the accident in January 2020, the disqualification from the Tour de France and the consequences it has left for Nairo and the case of López whose name appears in a court in Spain investigating a doping plot was left to country with no option to fight the big races, but there is a group that pushes hard, although not with the same options.
“There are new cyclists. In Europe everything is different. They know how to run better there and it is difficult to adapt to the races because of the routes, roads, but they are in great condition and with time and confidence they will surely perform”, commented Bohórquez.
they are not the same
What happens with the Colombians on the Tour, a performance that is not good, serves to open the window and analyze what is coming.
When López dominated the Tour of Colombia, it was discussed that there was no renewal in the cycling country, but there are new faces, what happens is that if they are compared with Nairo, Bernal and others, well, there are losses, because none have the category of them and, in addition, they face true phenomena such as Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar, Remco Evenepoel, champions of their same generation.
Colombia has won five titles in the big three: one in the Tour de France, two in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. History says that 20 podium finishes have been achieved between those high-caliber competitions.
«Nairo, Rigoberto, Bernal and others left the bar high.»
This has been the most successful generation in the history of Colombian cycling, a difficult statistic to match and surpass.
“Nairo, Rigoberto, Bernal and others left the bar high. Those who come will manage to do something. Yes, there are new ones, but you have to pick up the pace, so that they know what the races are like, ”said Bohórquez.
It is normal that the present is not good and that the future is a question mark, but Colombia is not the only country that is in these. France hasn’t won the Tour since 1985, 38 years have passed and you don’t see anyone in the distance. The last time Spain won the Tour was in 2009 with Alberto Contador and Juan Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez appear.
the new batch
In this group of newcomers we can highlight Einer Rubio, Santiago Buitrago, Jesús David Peña and Germán Darío Gómez, who ‘stick their heads out’ and open the way.
For Ángel Yesid Camargo, a Colombian coach, the key is to change to reach Europe and not give up time learning.
VICTORIAAAAA, CELEBRATE COLOMBIA 🇨🇴 😭!
Santiago Buitrago delivers the #34 victory to the country, he is the #18 cyclist to achieve this feat in the #turn.
— DSportsCo (@DIRECTVSportsCo) May 26, 2023
“In Europe they know what high-performance cycling is. They look for talent and put all the technology and preparation into them, they spare no detail. We are very wild and we aim for cyclists to come out spontaneously, you have to win a lottery and you bet to see when one comes out, ”said Camargo.
For the boyacense there is material that can become important in the Old Continent and continue with the path of victories.
“There is talent. The mental and educational part has to change. He has to get used to cycling in Europe in everything, he can’t have broth with potatoes for breakfast. The Rubios, Buitrago, Peña and others have known how to react and have learned,” Camargo said.
He emphasizes that certain things must be changed, in which he agrees with Bohórquez.
“They go there and they have to learn, it will take them a while to get up to speed. They must learn everything: technical routes, food, the way of training. At 16 years of age, the bicycle has all the necessary accessories in Europe, not here, at that age the pelaos don’t know about technology and while they learn it will take longer to stand out”, Camargo stated.