“Nairo and Superman were an example to follow in Colombia”

Colombian cycling lived in this 2023 a time of changes after two of its great figures in the last decade, Nairo Quintana and Miguel Angel López, left the World Tour. The latter was expelled from Astana while Nairo for now remains without a team after Arkea also announced that he was no longer using his services. However, Colombian cyclists continue to show their faces this season, despite the fact that fewer are among the elite now. Harold Tejada (25 years old), the only runner from this country in the ranks of Astana, At AS, he values ​​the situation of this sport in his country: “Behind us come good ‘bare guys’. Arriving in Europe and consolidating yourself is not easy, but you have to tell the boys not to give up.”the one from Pitalito told AS in Oman.

Coming from Medellín, the team in which Superman López currently runs (“I found out at the last minute that I was going there)”, he has already participated in all the big ones: a Tour (2020), two Giro (2021 and 2022) and a Vuelta (2022). He chases his first victory as a professional: “I think I’m closer than ever because every time I feel better. I hope this season comes. I am a gregarious person who can also compete in general classifications and this year it is important to know my role. My contract is over and I want to renew. It will be a decisive year and the team gave me confidence”. On the “sacrifice” that Colombians make when they arrive in Europe, Tejada gives the reasons: “In Colombia we practically don’t have the seasons. Here in Europe, yes, so the cold, the rain, being away from family, the food… I think it affects many, but in the end we have to accept everything”.

Resident in Andorra, he goes out to train with other compatriots such as Chaves, Higuita, Molano… and with Superman López until he leaves for Colombia. “Both Nairo and Miguel Ángel have difficult situations and we must support them. I don’t know if they will return to the World Tour, but for us, the young people, they were an example to follow in Colombia”, stressed Tejada, a runner who prefers “long, stretched and constant ports”. Mark Cavendish landed at Astana this season, which is also something new for the Kazakh team: working for a sprinter, “Mark gives us instructions when there’s a sprint. On the radio, what it tells us is key: right (once), right, right (two), left, left (two) and so on. For us it is new and we are also learning”, said the Colombian. A challenge for Astana and also for Tejada, in his most important year: in search of his first win and to renew his contract to continue on the World Tour.

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