Nairo Quintana predicted war but in the end there was peace. Of course, there were winners and losers, but once the dust had settled after a spectacular climax to the inaugural edition of the Colombia Oro y Paz, all parties seemed to leave content.
Egan Bernal because he’d pulled off a dramatic heist on the 20km climb to Manizales to snatch the overall title. Nairo Quintana, whom Bernal divested of the pink jersey, because his brother Dayer won the stage from the breakaway. Dayer Quintana, of course, because he won the stage from the breakaway – only the third victory of his career. Rigoberto Urán because he’d already won a stage and was now on the final podium behind Bernal and Quintana. Sergio Henao because of Bernal, even if he was supposed to be Sky’s leader.
All of them because of the staggering crowds and the roaring success of the inaugural edition of Colombia’s first ever UCI 2.1 race – the ‘Gold and Peace’.
“Sometimes the result doesn’t matter,” said Urán in the media zone in Manizales, to a background of ‘Rigo, Rigo’ chants. “I really believe that it’s more of a victory seeing all these people here, screaming their lungs out, not only for the ‘top’ riders but for everyone, no matter their race number. This has great significance for Colombian cycling. Cycling is a sport that unites the country, so thank you everyone for this immense show of love.”
The crowds weren’t just flooding the streets around the finish line, but all the way down the climb as well.
“When I attacked my team were talking to me through the radio and I couldn’t even hear what they were saying because of all the people shouting,” said a beaming Bernal.
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