Colombian Hope


6 July 2013

Today’s stage in the Tour included some outstanding performances.
It was the first mountain stage after a week of hard work for all the teams.
Chris Froome (SKY) won, took over the yellow and the polkadot jersey
and teammate Richie Porte was able to secure the second place.
Alejandro Valverde finished third and is the leader of the Movistar Team.
However, it was Valverde’s teammate who impressed the spectators
by being the first rider who crossed the Col de Paihères of 2001 metres,
the mountain before the final climb of 1375 metres to Ax 3 Domaines.
Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is his name.
He was born on the 4th of February 1990 in Colombia.
In 2009, he won the Columbian time trial for riders under the age of 23.
The following year, he signed a contract with Café de Colombia.
Then he got the chance to ride the Tour de L’Avenir and immediately
won two stages and the GC of this famous race in France for promising riders.
This made his family, friends, and fellow citizens of Columbia very proud.
In 2011, he was the King of the Mountains in the Volta a Catalunya.
Team Movistar then decided to sign this talented young rider.
So in 2012 Nairo got the opportunity to ride many more
prestigious races where he could show off his climbing skills.
He won the Vuelta a Murcia, the Route du Sud and the Giro dell’Emilia.
On top of that, he also got to ride his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España.
The TTT was conquered by him and his team and he managed
to secure the 36th place in the general classification.
Not bad for a 22-year-old climber in his very first Vuelta.
This year, he has already won the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.
So it was no surprise that he made the selection for the Tour de France.
However, the road to where he is today, in the white jersey
at the Tour de France, has not been as easy as it may seem.
The 23-year-old comes from the Republic of Colombia, a country
known for its armed conflict between the government and guerrillas.
Poverty is for many people in Colombia a serious issue.
As the newspaper El Espectador stated, the Quintana family
also had to face “precariously difficult economic conditions”.
Nairo’s parents struggled to make ends meet, but still managed
to send their son to a school, 16 kilometres away, on a second-hand bike.
Nairo’s love for cycling gradually grew and eventually led to competing in races.
Despite the fact that the Quintana family had to take up many jobs to be able
to survive and pay for all the costs, they always kept believing in cycling.
Nairo has always been proud to be able to represent his country and
at the moment, a beautiful new house is being built for his parents in Colombia.
The positivity he sends back to Colombia marks the beauty of cycling.

 Nairo Quintana (MOV) after the 8th stage in the Tour de France: most combative rider of the day and the new owner of the white jersey

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