4 Colombians (Barely) Enter Northern Ireland

Share |

“Go slow Colombians, go slow!” In 1974, the amateur cycling team Singer sent the first all-Colombian team to the Piccolo Giro D’Italia. The team put two on the podium of Italy’s most prestigious amateur race, but the big disruption to the European cycling orthodoxy was the Colombians’ aggressive riding style. The Frenchmen and Italians preferred to climb at a steady tempo and leave mountaintop finishes to a sprint between the riders who hung on, but Singer would send riders on long flyers from 10 kilometers out and dare others to try and chase them down. It angered European cyclists, who saw the strategy as ostentatious and impractical, but it worked. Colombian climbers were more skilled than their competitors and flaunted it, daring anyone to try and bring them back, more or less laughing with their bicycles. A year prior, Cochise Rodriguez became the first Colombian to race the professional Giro, and he immediately asserted himself, winning Stage 15 and helping Bianchi teammate Felice Gimondi to second place, behind only Eddy Merckx.

The golden age of Colombian cycling started with amateur teams and isolated riders finding success, and quickly manifested itself on the European stage with Postobon and Cafe de Colombia establishing themselves as legitimate, top-level teams that raced the Giro continuously for a decade. The era peaked when Cafe de Colombia’s Lucho Herrera won the 1987 Vuelta A Espana, and although the two teams moved back to South America and Herrera retired in the early 90’s, Colombian riders continued to target the Giro and succeed on European teams. There is a rich history of Colombian cycling, and it’s still alive today.

The 2014 Giro starts today in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but a few of its prospective participants were in limbo as recently as yesterday. Team Colombia-Coldeportes participated last year -- the first Colombian team since Postobon in 1992 -- and star rider Fabio Duarte almost won the hardest stage, which ended in the middle of a blizzard. This edition of the race starts in the UK, but Team Colombia riders Miguel Angel Rubiano, Jarlinson Pantano, and Carlos Quintero and Trek’s Julian Arredondo all had their initial visa applications denied. The three Team Colombia riders all raced the Giro last year, and Rubiano won a stage two years ago and was planning on wearing the Colombian national champions jersey in Europe for the first time in years, a symbol Colombian cycling’s renaissance. Arredondo has been Trek’s best climber in his first season with the top-level team. These dudes are not coming out of the blue.

And yet, because of an alleged technicality, they didn’t know whether or not they would be allowed to compete in the biggest race of all their seasons, a race with a particularly special valence for Colombian cyclists, until yesterday. Earlier this month, Team Colombia had to withdraw from the Tour of Turkey so it could have backup riders ready to go for the Giro, as well as a simpler time guaranteeing visas going forward. Imagine an NBA team having to fly out three players from the D-League to a playoff series without knowing whether they’d need them or not.

For a Pro-Continental (second division) team, wins are both harder to come by and more necessary than for a large, stable team like Omega-Pharma Quickstep. Smaller teams have less money and less races to make money at, which creates a pinch. Not being able to race is bad on its own, but the complications created when cyclists don’t know whether they will be able to participate in certain races at all are even worse. Preparations can’t be as finely tuned to specific dates and races, lest a rider have to change plans and fly to Spain instead of Poland. Uncertainty damages a rider’s prospects for both the present and future.

Trek’s Arredondo isn’t technically a citizen of a European country, the way most Colombian riders are. He was only granted a work visa, and thus has to travel back to Colombia every three months to renew his eligibility. It’s another inconvenience that hampers his ability to take part in the laser-precise training needed to succeed on the bike. Numerous Colombians without solid citizenship status in Europe, most notably 2013 Giro best young rider Carlos Betancur, have had visa issues prevent them from attending vital preseason team training camps. Young English and French cyclists don’t have to deal with issues like these, but the development of many Europe-bound Colombians is somewhat dependent on forces outside of their control.

Klaus of Cycling Inquisition wrote about the stigma of traveling with Colombian visas in the 80’s, when Pablo Escobar was at the height of his powers. Essentially, the stereotype that all Colombians are moral-free smugglers was damaging then and it’s still damaging now. The notion that these four riders are going to be importing drugs during their three days in the UK, where they will be squarely in the public eye the entire time, is absurd. The UK probably doesn’t actually think that, but it’s the gloppy legacy of old racist thinking that seems to be sticking to Pantano, Quintero, Rubiano, and Arredondo. Ireland hasn’t had a Grand Tour visit their country since 1998. You’d think they would get their act together well beforehand, but here we are, couching bullshit in bureaucracy. Even more depressing is that the reaction from the (predominantly anglo) cycling press has been more or less *yawn.* The first two articles I found on this subject don’t even mention the cyclists by name.

It should be noted that visa issues have not hampered exclusively Colombians. Androni-Giocattoli’s Venezuelans Yonder Godoy and Jackson Rodriguez also had trouble entering Ireland, and Astana was forced to remove Maxim Iglinsky and Alexey Lutsenko, both important riders from Kazahstan, from its lineup after they were barred from the UK. What sets the Colombian’s issues apart is that multiple teams were affected and they fit neatly into a long history.

The irony of this hangup is that the two favorites for this race are themselves Colombian. Nairo Quintana, hero of the 2013 Tour De France, has looked scarier than ever this year, and the course suits his generational climbing abilities perfectly. Quintana’s former roommate and 2013 Giro runner-up, Rigoberto Uran Uran, will come into a Grand Tour as his team’s outright leader for the first time. Both won stages and finished second in Grand Tours last year after starting out as mere lieutenants, having to drag their less-able European leaders through different mountain ranges. Both have the talent and support to win this one, yet both are from a nation whose citizens are unwelcome.

And so, the best way to commemorate the unlucky four who had to hang on until this week to find out if they could race would be for Quintana or Uran to win the whole damn thing. A Colombian has never won this incredibly significant race, but in a year that four of their countrymen were almost excluded for byzantine reasons, there has never been a better time for these two to grab the Giro by the scruff and win it. Progress moves in fits and starts, forward and backward. A Colombian win this year would be a declarative punch forward, a postcolonial reckoning from a past whose tensions live on.

Share |

Comments

That'sthe cause marketing that you simply appropriate research prior to creating. It's also feasible to put in writing enhanced publishing with this particular. high trust flow backlinks

Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!.. pname com facebook orca

Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read. parimatch

I love really this blog site because it provides me the big deal of superb information.
Mark Curry cash advance lender

I enjoy the post, As i liked, Iwould really enjoy even more tips in such a, for the reason that it will be somewhat agreeable., Appreciate it for the purpose of issuing. http://thescentedflower.site

I enjoy the post, As i liked, Iwould really enjoy even more tips in such a, for the reason that it will be somewhat agreeable., Appreciate it for the purpose of issuing. http://thescentedflower.site

The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. Syllabus 2018

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work ocean of games

I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. https://youtu.be/YBngYaGPpWA

Great articles and great layout. Your blog post deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. Pakistani salwar suits

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. Turmeric Pills

Furthermore this is aside from that an awesome put up that we all unquestionably preferred perusing. It is far from normal i enjoy the odds to work out a product. buy mobile accessories online in Pakistan

Hence it is better you have to affiliated understand when setting up. It is easy to put up a lot better apply for right away.

Thanks, that was a really cool read! RICH PIANA Death

I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Evoshake

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. Deca Durabolin

Thanks for sharing us. Bodyweight Workout For Weight Loss

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. Volume Pills Customer Reviews

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. Volume Pills Customer Reviews

When you use a genuine service, you will be able to provide instructions, share materials and choose the formatting style. legal Steroids for Strength

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work How To Stay Focused

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work How To Stay Focused

I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Phentermine For Weight Loss

Sounds thrilling to me, I might be doing a research at https://marvelous-reviews.com/ about how the Columbians are doing at Northern Ireland and how they might help us improve the struggle, Have a great day ahead

This particular papers fabulous, and My spouse and i enjoy each of the perform that you have placed into this. I’m sure that you will be making a really useful place. I has been additionally pleased. Good perform! this website

Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks Crevalor Review

Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign. Demi Lovato Weight Loss

I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious... best diet pills for women

Thanks for picking out the time to discuss this, I feel great about it and love studying more on this topic. It is extremely helpful for me. Thanks for such a valuable help again. miranda lambert weight loss