A pilgrimage this Tuesday broke the tranquility that is normally breathed in the municipality of Donmatías. On that “pilgrimage” they waited for a champion.
Children in their school uniforms vigorously waving green and white pennants, others dressed as peasants and dancing, dozens more riding bicycles, as well as young people with musical instruments and adults with ruanas and hats crowded early in the main park of that town. from North Antioquia to make a street of honor for one of the men who has magnified the name of Colombia in the world, Nairo Quintana from Boyacá (Arkéa).
“Welcome Nairo, you are an example to follow”, “When your legs get tired, you pedal with your heart”, “We all have the right to fulfill our dreams, no one has to judge us, and Nairo is an example of motivation for us” , were three of the banners that received the winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia and the 2016 Vuelta a España, whose presence aroused jubilation among the residents of this and other neighboring municipalities such as Entrerríos, San Pedro de los Milagros, Santa Rosa de Bears and San José de la Montaña.
In the midst of the reception in Donmatías, where the largest jeans manufacturing factories in Colombia are located and which will be one of the places where the athlete pedals along with another five thousand cyclists on November 20 during the Gran Fondo Nairo Quintana, the renowned tears of happiness rolled down his cheeks as he felt the affection of the people towards him.
Did you expect a reception like this at Donmatías?
“No, I even had tears of emotion, I am very grateful.”
What do you think when you know that you are a reference not only
of greats, also of
“It is something very beautiful. Children need references that encourage them to move forward to fulfill their life projects. Being one of them not only makes me proud, it also motivates me to work harder to inspire more people.”
If the launch of the Gran Fondo in this town was exciting, perhaps the cycling challenge will be greater…
“We want to stimulate sports through cycling, activate economic activity with good hotel occupancy, there will also be a trade fair, as well as a talk with children and athletes because we want to leave a mark wherever we go, beyond organizing an event sports. Approximately 5,000 cyclists will come from different parts of the world, including Swiss, French, Italian, Spanish…”.
You already have three podiums in the Tour -two times second and another third-, are you excited this year to finish in yellow at the French round?
“I have very good feelings. As you can see, I had an excellent start to the season. I finished the first part with four victories which were very important for me. I will have about a month of preparation in Colombia before competing in the Occitania Route (June 16-19) and be in a good state to perform in the Tour. The conditions are good, I have had a great recovery after the crash in the recent Tour of Turkey. I’m already training hard.”
Do you think that the compatriots who will be at the Giro starting this Friday can make outstanding presentations like you did years ago and Egan Bernal, current champion?
“Of course. We have important riders who will surely be in the fight. Among them, Miguel Ángel López, who can do very well because in the last race he gave signs that he is in good condition”.
There are athletes who are beginning to express themselves on social networks showing their position regarding the best option for Colombia in the face of presidential voting, why haven’t you done so?
“Right now I prefer to keep pedaling, supporting the children who are the future of our country, setting an example of work, which is what we all have to do to continue forward. Each person must have the conviction of what they think is best for their life.”
At 32 years of age, it can be said that there is Nairo for a while, but what about today’s powerful generation, does it motivate him to continue improving himself?
“Yes, quite strong young people have come out, who have led in recent years. But this forces us to work tirelessly to maintain the level and keep winning. It has already been seen that they can be beaten, so we have to fine-tune the engine, because I am not lacking in wanting to continue trying to make a difference against my other opponents”