Yesterday, February 11, 2024, marked the conclusion of the Tour Colombia with Colombian cyclist Rodrigo Contreras of the Nu Colombia team clinching the overall victory. The six-day cycling event featured 142 riders across 24 teams, commencing on February 6 in Paipa and wrapping up in Bogotá. This year’s challenging course culminated in a mountainous final stage. Noteworthy among the competitors was the seasoned British cyclist, Mark Cavendish from the Astana Qazaqstan team, who secured a stage win on the fourth day in Zipaquira.
Colombia won all the prizes, except for the Youth classification. This honor went to the 21-year-old Mexican Jose Ramon Muñiz, and the Mountain Bike award, which went to the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz.
Tour Colombia 2024
The race that ended the Tour Colombia began in the municipality of Sopo and passed through Tocancipa, Gachancipa, Alto del Sisga, Sesquile, Guatavita, La Calera, and ended in the capital, a total of 138.7 kilometers. The massive reception brought together thousands of families from Bogota, who crowded on both sides of the road, making the arrival of the cyclists a spectacle full of civic emotion.
There were many competitors that people cheered from the streets; however, several names stood out for their charisma and successes for the country: the winner of the Tour de France in 2019, Egan Bernal; Nairo Quintana, winner of the Giro de Italia and the Vuelta a España in 2014 and 2016 respectively; and Rigoberto Urán; among other cyclists who have lifted the name of Colombia high in international competitions.
The Tour Colombia, an elite cycling competition, has become a symbolic event in the international calendar. Although it is a very recent event, since its inception in 2018 this race has captivated fans from all over the world with its exciting route through the beautiful Colombian landscapes.
Lasting six days, the Tour Colombia attracts some of the best teams and riders in the world, who compete in a variety of stages, where both endurance and technical skill are highlighted. The race has been a platform for outstanding Colombian riders, as well as international stars looking to prepare for the big events on the world cycling calendar. Thus for example, Colombian Egan Bernal was the first winner in the 2018 edition.
Although the competition started in 2018, this year was only the fourth time it was held; in 2021, 2022 and 2023, it was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Colombia, a country of cycling
Colombia’s cycling tradition goes back decades, rooted in the people’s passion for the sport and the tenacity of its cyclists. From the legendary victory of Martín Emilio “Cochise” Rodríguez in the 1973 Giro d’Italia to the more recent triumphs of Nairo Quintana and Egan Bernal in the Tour de France, cycling has been a source of national pride.
The Vuelta a Colombia, held annually since 1951, has been a crucial platform for the development of local talent and the consolidation of iconic figures such as Lucho Herrera, winner in 1987, and more recently, Rigoberto Urán. The high altitude climbing and mountainous terrain have forged cyclists capable of competing in the most demanding races in the world.
The 1980s saw the best moments of Colombian cycling, with the victories of Herrera in the Vuelta a España and the rise of Fabio Parra. In more recent times, the emergence of Quintana and Bernal has taken Colombia to the top of world cycling. Quintana conquered the Giro d’Italia in 2014 and the Vuelta a España in 2016, while Bernal became the first Colombian to win the Tour de France in 2019.
Other more recent national idols such as Rigoberto Uran have even given rise to television series. These achievements continue to fuel the passion and tradition of cycling in Colombia.