Book Review: Colombia Es Pasión

“Colombia Es Pasión” by Matt Rendell

A biography of several Colombian cyclists as well as the story of modern Colombian cycling and Colombia itself, this book will enrich your understanding of many of today’s top riders and the arduous paths they’ve taken to reach the top of their sport.

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Film Review: Thereabouts 3

It’s got explosions, near accidents, sprints, anger, tears and more yet this a documentary film that invites meditation on the state of pro cycling. If you’re the type who acts first and thinks later then you might find yourself on a flight to Colombia very soon with your bike sitting in the hold below.

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The Moment Il Lombardia Was Won

A sprint among three climbers? After 240km this could never be a dragstrip contest but Esteban Chaves still had the jump in the closing metres to surge past Diego Rosa and win the Tour of Lombardy.

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Colombia: Altitude vs. Attitude

Fleche Wallonne podium 2013 Henao Moreno Betancur

Sergio Henao and Carlos Betancur flank Dani Moreno on the podium. If all three speak Spanish, two are Colombians. It comes after several other remarkable results by Colombians this year, notably Nairo Quintana’s win in the Tour of the Basque Country.

With the emergence of several Colombian riders this year I’ve seen many citing their nationality and background as a factor for success. In particular the altitude of several South American countries is cited as an explanation for improved performance. Does being born at 3,000m above sea level give you an advantage? Can living higher than the Passo Stelvio or Col du Galibier make a rider faster?

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The Future of 2010

Nairo Quintana
L’Avenir is French for “the future” and as the name suggests, the Tour de l’Avenir is meant to be reserved for the stars of tomorrow. With this in mind, time for a quick look back at the 2010 edition because it was dominated by the likes of Taylor Phinney, John Degenkolb, Andrew Talansky and especially Nairo Quintana.

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Sunday shorts

Well done to Gustav Larsson of Vacansoleil-DCM for his win in Paris-Nice. The windtunnel work paid off as he won by just one second over Bradley Wiggins. It rained for the later contenders and some said Larsson would not ordinarily have won. But I suspect the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Levi Leipheimer will have their chance for glory later in the week. Above all Larsson was given his departure time, rode his best… and won.

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Saturday shorts

A few short items with Armstrong, the Contador verdict, sprinters in Qatar and a possible new big stage race in Colombia

Impossible not to mention Lance Armstrong today, if only because my twitter timeline is bursting with comment. In case you’ve missed it, the US authorities have dropped the investigation into doping and potential federal crimes relating to the use of sponsorship monies.

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Óscar Sevilla’s trauma


At the start of his pro career many found Óscar Sevilla so fresh-faced they wondered if he was a junior. Now just days from his 35th birthday, his image is less angelic and it’s not just the passage of time. Yesterday he was given a six month ban by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) for a doping offence.

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Colombia with passion

Colombia Es Pasion

It was in the late 1980s when I first began to catch the Tour de France. At the time the Colombians had an almost mythical ability in the Tour de France. I didn’t understand much about the sport but I knew in the mountains that Lucho Herrera, Pablo Wilches and Fabio Parra were able to win and to liven up any summit finish. There were two teams from Colombia, Café de Colombia and Postobon. In time the South Americans collected a very respectable list of results, from stage wins to placings in races like the Vuelta, Dauphiné and Tour de France.

The Colombians also brought very animated commentators who would give typical latin flair to their flow. I can’t find a clip but here’s the soccer equivalent. It wasn’t just heated commentary, in time they also brought cocaine.

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Real dope

I’ve been reading Laurent Fignon’s autobiography, of which an English translation is due out this summer and will write a review soon. One brief anecdote from the book. In the 1987 Vuelta, Fignon finished third to Colombia’s Luis Herrera. The first Colombian winner of a Grand Tour, it was a massive victory for South American … Read more