Each Sunday, thousands of people from Bogota indulge in their love for cycling. Over hundred and twenty kilometers of Bogota’s traffic choked roads alter into bicycle routes which is popularly known as ciclovías. However, this week, drivers also braved out an unscheduled bike related interruption. On 13th August, troves of people poured onto the roads to welcome Nairo Quintana, whose feats hark back to the resplendency days of Colombian cycling in 80s and 90s, when its over-the-top climbers were known as the beetles or escarabajos.
Earlier in July, the twenty three year old Mr Quintana came 2nd in Tour de France, which is the most prestigious as well as one of the most grueling cycling races in the world. He also won the young riders classification as well as pranced across the Champs Elysées in the sought after polka dot jersey for the best climber. This makes Quintana the most successful South American participant in its history.
Two Colombians, Santiago Botero and Luis “Lucho” Herrera, had earlier been crowned king of the mountains. Two cyclists, Álvaro Mejía Castrillón and Fabio Parra, ended the Tour de France as the highest-placed youngsters.
A local blog called, Cycling Inquisition hailed it as “the best showing of any Colombian at the Tour. Ever.”
After the fanfare in the Colombian capital, Mr Quintana went to his town in the mountains of Boyaca province, where as a young person he would drive to school on a second hand, cheap bike. He told at a press conference that 8 years ago, he was just learning to ride.