Solid strategy and tactics paid off during the first stage of La Leyenda del Dorado for the riders from Boyacá, Héctor Leonardo Páez and Diego Alfonso Arias, of Team Giant Liv Polimedical, Italy.
The pair took the victory on Monday 30th July on the second day of the most important mountain bike race in Colombia, with a time of 2 hours, 54 minutes y 21 seconds, over a 70 km route that started and ended in the La Rochela Recreational Centre at Palestina (Caldas), surrounded by verdant coffee fields.
“We felt good and worked as a team. The key for the victory was pacing ourselves well on the first ascent, although the descent was not easy because of all the rain and mud, complicating the visibility a little bit, but we took our chances,” said Leonardo Páez.
For Diego Arias, the pace of Leonardo was a huge help as he’s been suffering from illness for the last few days and is still not fully recovered. “I felt better than the first day and talked a lot to Leonardo on the ascents which motivated me a lot. The best part of La Leyenda is the warmth of the people, the organization always takes care of the riders and our needs”.
The Colombians, Champions of the inaugural 2016 La Leyenda in 2016, came back strongly after finishing fourth in the 49 km Prologue between La Plaza de Bolívar, Manizales, and La Rochela. They were almost nine minutes ahead of Portuguese Tiago Ferreira and Dutch Hans Becking who took second place. The podium was completed by South Africans Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck, who came in 10 minutes and 50 seconds after the winners.
In the Female Elite category Colombian Mónica Calderón and Venezuelan Liliana Uzcátegui won again after a very strong performance in the Prologue. They clocked in at 4 hours 5 minutes and 6 seconds, followed by Portuguese Ilda Pereira and Mayalen Noriega from Spain (04:09:26), with Colombian Yosiana Quintero and Leidy Mera following in third place.
“The fatigue always increases over the week. It was a tough stage, the climbs were not so steep but very long and if the pair doesn’t have a similar pace, it’s even tougher, but I have felt great with Liliana. This is a very demanding and competitive race and I think more people should get involved in mountain biking, it’s such an exciting sport,” said Mónica Calderón.
La Leyenda del Dorado, with 250 riders from 21 countries, packs its bags to leave on Tuesday 31st July to Salamina, in the northern part of Caldas. This is one of Colombia’s patrimonial towns and is considered one of the most beautiful in the whole country, it will receive the race for the third time with lots of celebrations planned for the riders. There will be 97 Km of constant action alongside the Cauca river, through Irra, La Felisa and La Merced, before arriving to Salamina where racers will feel like they’re heading up Alpe D’Huez in the Tour de France.
Stage One, Coffee, Results
1. Héctor Leonardo Páez (COL) & Diego Arias (COL): 02:54:21
2. Tiago Ferreira (PRT) & Hans Becking (DEU): 03: 03:16
3. Nico Bell (ZAF) & Gawie Combrinck (ZAF): 03:05:12
4. Ibon Zugasti (ESP) & Alberto Losada (ESP): 03:05:41
5. Joris Massaer (BEL) & José Días (PRT): 03:05:41
1. Mónica Calderón (COL) & Liliana Uzcátegui (VEN): 04:05:06
2. Ilda Pereira (PRT) & Mayalen Noriega (ESP): 04:09:26
3. Yosiana Quintero (COL) & Leidy Mera (COL): 04:28:51
4. Celina Carpinteiro (PRT) & Sandra Jorda (ESP): 04:44:19
1. Julien Delaet (BEL) & Sébastien Pelé (FRA): 03:13:53
2. Oscar Flórez (COL) & Carlos Serna (COL): 03:24:01
3. Valério Ferreira (PRT) & Tiago Silva (PRT): 03:29:26
1. Ignace Spruyt (BEL) & Abraao Azevedo (BRA): 03:37:14
2. Jorge Valencia (COL) & Guiovanny Cantor (COL): 03:39:18
3. Arllery Quintero (PRT) & Andrés Montes (COL): 03:49:42
1. Adolfo Buratovich (CHE) & Lorenzo Milesi (ARG): 04:25:47
2. Eugenio Pineda (COL) & Carlos Rendón (COL): 04:59:59
3. Jeff Taylor (CAN) & Robert Rennie (CAN): 06:41:08
1. Angy Espinosa (COL) & Julián Rincón (COL): 04:18:37
2. Olga Moreno (COL) & Jorge González (COL): 04:58:57
3. Vladi Pokobova (BEL) & Hans Planckaert (BEL): 04:50:59