Monday, June 11, 2012

Who is Nairo Quintana?



Now that Quintana has won a stage at the Tour (along with the white, and polka dot jerey) I've updated this post. Go read the updated version here

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for another thoughtful story on the riders and nuances of Columbian cycling. I don't find this anywhere else. I wish you would put some of these stories into print.

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    1. ColOmbia, NOT ColUmbia

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  2. yeah, every family pretty much has a "negrito," i happened to be the one in out family, since i am the darkest. quintana is pretty damn dark, but i'm pretty sure no one has ever called carlos betancur "negro."

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  3. Klaus,

    I wore my Cycling Inquisition socks yesterday on a humble climb, and I can tell you that it felt like the Colombian climbers past and present were nudging me along up the steep hill! I may not be a climber but I sure felt like one. Thanks for the great socks!

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    1. That's because Klaus includes a little Colombiam mojo woven into every pair.

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  4. Bobby,
    Right you are. The patented Colombian Mojo technology is a proprietary and proven method that improves climbing abilities significantly.

    ps: I find it interesting to see which posts get lots of comments and which only get a few. I say that because the amount of people who have come to the blog today and read this post is pretty large (thanks in large part to a tweet by Mr Inner Ring) but the comments don't reflect that. But then other posts will have smaller readership, but three times the comments. Maybe when I get my PhD in blogging I'll understand this.

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  5. That was an interesting article. Thank you for the insight into Nairo Quintana. I am going to watch that stage again tonight whilst thinking of Nairo's struggles past and present. As an Australian (actually, Tasmanian), I am saddened to hear of the Australian riders making racist remarks towards the Colombian riders. The fact is, after having met a few, my opinion is that our pro-bike riders don't often run very deep. There are exceptions of course (Lloyd, Porte, Wurf) but I think it could be fair to say that many Australian pros have bypassed an education to devote their lives to their pro career. Just utter boneheads, some of them, who live a privileged life. For me, this serves to put the humility and good grace of Quintana into perspective. Thanks again for the great blog.

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    1. I don't like when ppl in cycling say "the Australians" or "the Americans" or "the Europeans" or whatever. I know you sorta have to, but every time I hear something like that I just dismiss it as "some people," cuz you never know exactly who they are referring to, you know? Maybe one Australian made a comment and now "the Australians" are racist. I may be pointing out the obvious, but "the Colombians" got that type of herd denomination in the 80s and it always irked me. Now, if we could do something about those damn Venezuelans!

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  6. Amazing article, thanks!

    Emilio

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  7. Quintana's sister is pretty funny! "Uste' sabe chino..." Jajaja!

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  8. Anonymous,

    The "uste' sabe chino" line had me laughing a bit too. So good.


    Teezy,
    Accounts like this have been common among Colombian cyclists since the early 1980s. I don't think one nationality is to blame, and there's probably stories about Colombians doing some stupid things in different ways too I suppose. I think what compounds the issue is that Colombian riders are often unknown in the European peloton. That was the case in the 80s, and has been for smaller amateur teams. That means that riders are not sure about them, their bike handling skills, and believe they will be crashing them out. Alvaro Pachon, who raced the Picollo Giro in the mid 70s said this was the case. They were treated badly, but largely because everyone thought they were bad bike handlers (they weren't), and their sub-par equipment did nothing to tell anyone how good they really were. They looked foreign, rode differently (attacking early in the climbs) and generally made other riders angry. In the end, climbing took care of any misconceptions they had about them, and in the end they nearly swept the podium.

    There's also many stories of Colombians being treated well in Europe. Pacho Rodriguez said he was always treated fairly, both in Spanish and Belgian teams. I think there's always a few fools in the bunch, and sometimes those fools are in the press as well, who are often ignorant about other countries. Articles in big cycling magazines, like Winning, saying that electricity was still a rarity in Colombia during the 80s was exactly the type of thing that the Colombian press picked up on. We were constantly portrayed as backwards, almost jungle-dwelling creatures. But I would venture to say that similar misconceptions are common in almost every country about one another.

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  9. dunno if anyone here follows soccer, but liverpools luis suarez recieved a 8 game ban for calling somebody 'negrito". sometimes i have think the the FA and FIFA make the UCI look like a well run organization.

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  10. The worst thing about reading about 'the Australians' treating the Colombians poorly is the hypocrisy of it.
    It wasn't so long ago guys like Phil Anderson and Alan Peiper we battling riders from the traditional cycling nations to get respect, get into pro teams and race in Europe.

    As an Australian, I'm continually amazed at how embracing yet at the same time xenophobic we are.
    The Italian/Greek immigrants of the 1950's who were once ‘dirty Wogs’ are now loved as part of our cultural diversity, same goes for the Vietnamese of the 1970’s, every Aussie loves there Asian inspired food now.
    I guess the Afghans, Indians and Sudanese will just have to wait 20 years before we stop locking up our daughters…

    We’ll never stop sticking it to the English and New Zealanders though, but that a whole other story!

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    1. Just like you do in the Ashes? *grin*

      It's utterly shameful if people are being treated like that in the peloton.

      However. If his story is true about the Tour de L'Avenir, then far from being a champion, Quintana is also a disgrace and should've been thrown out of the race.

      His descending race against Cadel in the Dauphiné was great.

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  11. Reading this now after Quintana's win in the Volta a Catalunya. Wow that some things haven't changed, and wow for the admiration and love from his family and friends which he gives back by sponsoring a team. Thanks for telling his story.

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  12. This blog has been amazing, we Colombians come in different sizes and colors. I am so proud of Nairo, for being humble, thru hero for Colombia, the time has changed, today he and Movistar make a beautiful race, he finally could beat Froome a probe himself that he has an extraordinary talent.
    Congratulations!

    JAQ

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  13. Well written article talking about a low-profile rider from Colombia. But he is no longer a low profile rider. Looking at how he is riding the Tour de France 2013, I have become his fan. This article was important to understand what he went through to come to the stage where he is now. Will be glad to see him on the podium this year.

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