Rodrigo Contreras’ final challenge to win the Vuelta a Colombia 2024

Rodrigo Contreras’ final challenge to win the Vuelta a Colombia 2024
Rodrigo Contreras’ final challenge to win the Vuelta a Colombia 2024

06:11 PM

Rodrigo Contreras is 17.3 kilometers away from winning his first title in the Return to Colombia. Will he have revenge this year after being runner-up in 2023?

The remaining route seems short, but challenging it is true torture, not only because of the kilometers that cyclists already have accumulated in their legs after starting nine days ago the 74th edition of the race in Macanal, Boyacá, but because of the requirement of the final distance, a Time trial heading to Alto de Las Palmasone of the mythical peaks among cyclists from Medellín and Antioquia.

After nine years, this port will once again be a judge in the demanding competition. In 2015, with wind, cold and poor visibility (it was held at night) as additional adversities towards the finish line located 2,510 meters above sea level, the Spaniard Oscar Sevillatoday recovering after a recent accident, was the winner in Las Palmas with 39.58 minutes, riding at a speed of 26.2 kilometers per hour.

That time was enough for him to disband the paisa from the leadership Mauricio Ortega and proclaim himself champion. Ortega lost 1.29 minutes. A year later, Mauricio had revenge not only on that route, but also in the Vuelta.

During the sixth fraction, in the individual effort (17.5 km) towards Palmas, he won, in the middle of that average slope 6.6% and ramps that reach up to 18% gradient, with 41.55 minutes at a speed of 25.05 km/h. Days later he lifted the title in Tunja.

In 2014, on the penultimate day, he also left the Medellin Smart Building towards Palmas, where Álvaro Gómez won (42.20 minutes) and Luis Fernando Camargo, 13 seconds behind, assumed the lead, which he lost on the final day, by one second, to the champion Sevilla.

With this background, Contreras faces the final challenge of the Vuelta 2024. In time trials, the Cundinamarca native is a specialist, as he already evidenced in the prologue he won in Macanal on June 14.

In the general classification Rodrigo leads Wilson Peña (Team Sistecrédito) by 1.36 seconds and Diego Camargo (Petrolike) by 1.54 seconds. With that advantage and strength, Contreras confirms himself as the favorite for the title, but he maintains restraint and respect, because he is aware that anything can happen on that slope.

The champion of Colombia Tourthe Vuelta al Tolima and Clásica a Anapoima will have to fight hard to add another award this year to their record, and perhaps one of the most gratifying due to the hardness that had to be overcome in this edition.

“Winning the Vuelta is the desire of every cyclist in the country,” says Contreras, a rider who shows why, in two different years, he has had the opportunity to compete in the WorldTour. He leaves for Palmas for the consecration.

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