|Nairo Quintana celebrates his victory in the Giro d'Italia.|
|Rigoberrto Urán celebrates winning |
stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia.
Colombia's economy has strengthened - enabling local businesses to sponsor young riders and help them up onto the first rung of the ladder toward professional racing.
Colombia is safer - This has made Colombia's own tour, the Vuelta a Colombia, more attractive to foreign riders, giving Colombian cyclists more opportunities to be discovered by racing teams.
Cycling authorities have cracked down on doping. According to this theory, Colombia's many
|Julian Arredondo, the Giro d'Italia's King of the Mountain.|
Whatever happens, Colombia's cycling boom has potential to last, and even grow. That's pretty good for a relatively small, relatively poor developing nation.
Even so, as others have observed, cycling still receives only a fraction of the attention of futbol. Hundreds of Colombian journalists are following the national football squad during its World Cup training, but only few covered the Giro d'Italia - even tho Colombia's not likely to win the football World Cup. El Tiempo, the country's main newspaper, covered its front page today with a picture of Quintana kissing the Giro's trophy, and even dyed the paper pink (representing the winning rider's pink jersey). But by this afternoon, the paper's website had returned to World Cup coverage.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours