By Juan Camilo Jiménez (1st semester Social Communication student, level 4 English)
Nairo Quintana, the Colombian cyclist, was born in Cómbita, Boyacá in 1990. After Lucho Herrera, Nairo was the second Colombian to win La Vuelta a España. In the last couple of years, Nairo has been honored as the best Colombian cyclist taking part in the world tour. He also won the Giro d’Italia in 2014.
Nairo is currently considered one of the best climbers worldwide because of his resistance on routes with high slopes. He has always been considered as one of the favorites, and has won some of the hardest laps.
Cycling has been one of the most important sports in Colombia since the 1980s when Colombian cyclists were given the nickname escarabajos due to their great ability to climb. During that period, great cyclists like Lucho Herrera, Fabio Parra, Patrocinio Jimenez and more won in Europe. That's how Colombians began to get excited about every race and radio broadcast about cycling.
When Nairo and all the other Colombian cyclists take part in a race, people feel excited and anxious about what may happen. They get up in the morning to see the stages and when we are victorious, the country becomes one, manifesting joy and support from the streets of its cities and towns. In my case I am a big fan of cycling, so every victory awakens pride in me. For example on 20th July 2013 when Nairo won the mythical stage of the French Alps on Colombian Independence Day, I have to admit that tears of happiness rolled down my face.
In 2014 when Nairo went to the Giro d’Italia, he won and was proclaimed the first Latin American cyclist to take first place in this race. This caused euphoria in Colombians who came out to celebrate the victory and to give him a magnificent welcome on his return to the country.Then, he went to Spain, but he didn’t have a good experience because despite being first in the classification, he fell and had to quit the competition.
After that, in 2015 Nairo went to Tour de France. He came second in the general classification, and in La Vuelta he came fourth. 2016 is until now the best year for Nairo Quintana, because he won different races like Tour de Romandie, Volta a Catalunya and last, but not least, La vuelta a España. In the Tour de France, Nairo once again was the main figure in the race. He came third in the general classification, getting his third podium in three races. Nairo’s success in 2016 brought back the love for cycling in Colombia and was the reason for joy and celebration for all Colombians.
In 2017 Nairo finished in second place in the Giro d’Italia. He lost first place in the last stage, but took his place on the podium of this great race. After that, he went to the Tour de France but this time he could not take a place on the podium because he didn’t have time to rest between one race and the next.
In 2018, after six years of accumulating experience, Nairo only has the Tour de France in mind. Therefore, he will only run one of the three great races, and before the Tour he will have a very light schedule.
All Colombians hope that 2018 will be the year when Nairo finally gets the Triple Crown in cycling, and achieves the best, which will turn 2018 into the best year of his career.