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Analysis: The Colombian national teams, in line with the Wollongong World Cycling Championship

Delegation of Colombia in the 2022 Wollongong Cycling World Championship. // Fedeciclismo

Photo: Fedeciclismo

Just a month ago Colombia signed a disappointing performance in the Tour de L’Avenir, where the best national rider was 35 minutes behind the champion. That result in the most important under-23 race in the world was the harbinger of what could be expected from the performance of the national delegation at the World Cycling Championships in Wollongong, Australia, which ended yesterday morning with Remco Evenepoel and Annemiek van Vleuten as road champions in the elite category.

Sergio Higuita was the best Colombian in majors, in 31st place, while Paula Patiño among the ladies, was 28th.

It is true that the profile of the orbital event is similar to that of the classic one-day races, typical of the World Tour calendar, whose characteristics have never favored Colombian runners. However, that does not have to exempt our teams from adequate preparation, it only increases the degree of difficulty. This was the ninth World Cup in which Colombia attended under the baton of Carlos Mario Jaramillo as coach.

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A generation in which, at a professional level, Colombian riders obtained a Tour de France, two Giros d’Italia and a Vuelta a España, while in terms of world championships only three top-10 were obtained in the different categories. In the juniors, Colombia has not placed a rider among the top 10 of the Tour de L’Avenir since 2019, when Jhojan García was eighth. In this edition of the World Cup, one of the great expectations was Juan Manuel Barboza, national and Pan-American time trial champion. Although it is true that it was too ambitious to think of a podium in the U-23 individual time trial, a top-10 would not have been unreasonable. However, a mechanical problem left him running much of the track with his rear tire locked.

That seems to have been the image of Colombia in the World Cup. Although the mechanics of the national team tried to fix it, the bicycle, owned by the runner, was still broken. Barboza insisted on running with her even though the technician offered to change to a route. A total misunderstanding between directives and broker, an authority to which he obeys is not reflected.

“Suddenly, anxiety, it’s his first World Cup. He (Barboza) wants to do very well. He clouds your head, he doesn’t let you think. At the decisive moment it was to stop and change bikes. Taking so much material to Australia is something that is economically strong. When we travel and carry excess luggage, carrying two or three more bicycles requires an additional five or six million pesos per person. Here in Colombia all the teams have a time trial bike and if you have to make the change they will do it for the road bike, because there are not two time trial bikes”, says Rocío Parrado, DT of the GW Shimano women’s team.

“Many factors come together. The decision of the cyclist, the decision of the technical part and how to face such a situation. Suddenly clarify the athlete or give him a sense of calm so that he makes good decisions, ”he continues.

In the human part, each call for majors became to see calls from the runners who arrive with better legs as long as the teams lend the runners. From there, it became a copy every year of riders who go on their own, without a north and running with a view to making each one their career. It has not been seen on the road, year after year, a plan, a job according to the characteristics of the runners or in favor of a leader.

In this 2022 neither Fabio Duarte nor Daniel Felipe Martínez were present by decision of the teams, while in the women’s branch only four of the five available places were used. Coach Jaramillo stated on Caracol Radio before the competition that he had the women’s quotas that he was allowed, which leaves room for the question: was he not aware of the quotas?

Like this, more unintelligible decisions were seen, such as the trip of the youthful Paula Barrios, who, being summoned in Australia, was excluded from the time trials due to a technical decision. The same thing happened with the juvenile Diego Pescador. If resources are already limited, running corridors and not using them is an unnecessary budget drain. “Taking a runner and not putting her to compete is something that denigrates the cycling profession. What one wants is to compete”, says Parrado.

When they have to speak, the riders are satisfied and thank the Federation and its sponsors, but the cycling selection processes cry out to rethink all the work that is being done, from the root. If the budget is scarce, you have to seek to optimize it, with one head, or several (ideally one for each category) that are in tune with the current moment of the world squad.

“Cycling is a very aggressive sport, it is not like before. That means we have to change the whole base part. Not only the athlete, but the administrative and management base”, concludes Parrado.

Source: Elespectador

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