Rapha Colombian Camaraderie - EF Pro Cycling Daniel Martinéz Tour de France stage win

Colombian Camaraderie

EF Pro Cycling’s Colombian trio has experienced a great deal at this year’s Tour de France, with each of their journeys diverging dramatically. But from a glorious stage win to a heartbreaking crash and abandon, they’ve shared their experience together.

25 September 2020

When 160 faces cross the finish line of a Tour de France stage, the expressions they bear rarely belie what’s going on inside. At the top of Puy Mary, on Stage 13, Dani Martínez raised his arms and, making a celebratory heart shape with his hands, dedicated his win to his son. Within seconds his expression told a story of pure elation, as that winning adrenaline coursing through his veins melted the hurt of the effort away.

Then came his fellow Colombian, Rigoberto Urán. As he stopped, still grimacing from the effort, face drained of colour, he dismounted his bike and slumped down onto the roadside curb.

“How did we do?” Urán asks. “Dani won!” I say. In an instant the grimace fades, some colour returns, and the broadest of smiles appears. His expression beams pure happiness for the success of his comrade.

“We all win, or we all lose, together.”

“We have the mentality in the team that we all win, or we all lose, together,” Daniel Martínez had explained a few days before taking his stage win. When it comes to the Colombian trio of Dani, Urán, and Sergio Higuita, when one wins, they all win, as does the whole of Colombia.

Their nation gets behind its cycling stars and cheers for them with a national passion unmatched by any other country. And from the scars of its past, these cyclists help elevate the world’s perception of Colombia.

But for the Colombians who reach the elite echelons of professional cycling, more obstacles stand in the way than for most other aspiring riders. The country’s troubled history is one that left Urán without a father in his early teens, and both Higuita and Martínez describe childhoods with very little money. They still possess an overwhelming gratitude for the donated cycling shoes, kit, and bikes they used when first starting out as younger riders.

“It’s really special to race with Rigo because when I was young, he was already one of the stars of cycling.”

As Urán made his way to Europe following the path of previous Colombian stars, Higuita and Martínez made their way following the path of Urán. “It’s really special to race with Rigo, because when I was young I looked at Rigo as one of the stars of cycling,” Martínez says. “He was one of the first Colombians to podium in the Giro d’Italia, and he made me dream of doing the same.

“When I had the opportunity to race with him it changed everything for me. All of a sudden you’re in the same team as this big star, and not only that, you’re sharing a room with him. It was something really emotional for me,” he continues.

Higuita echoes a similar sentiment in how much racing alongside his boyhood hero means to him. “There’s no better school than riding with Rigo,” he quips.

And when it comes to handling a stage race, there’s no better place to learn than the Tour de France. One day it’s a post-stage champagne dinner celebration, the next it’s a team effort at lifting morale following a crash.

In the last three days, the Colombian trio’s Tour de France journeys diverged dramatically. From Martínez’s stage win, to Higuita’s crash and abandon, to Urán’s steady course to a high placing on general classification. But they’ve shared in the successes, and carried the burden of bad news, together. And all under the guidance of their teacher.

“What I most admire in Urán is his ability to overcome adversity. He’s a rider who has always had a lot of talent but has also experienced more than his fair share of setbacks,” Higuita says.

After a final week of racing which saw Higuita abandon his debut Tour de France and Urán slip out of overall contention, the mental toughness of the team’s Colombian contingent will no doubt be called upon once again. Luckily, the trio’s small army of Colombian fans will also be on hand to help lift spirits and get ready for the new challenges that lie ahead.

What The Pros Are Wearing

Colombian National Champs Pro Team Aero Jersey

Made for race days when the slightest aerodynamic advantage can underpin a race-winning move. No ordinary replica, this 2020 team edition is identical to those used by EF Pro Cycling riders at the highest level of competition, from infiltrating the breakaway to sprinting for the finishing line.

Available in extremely limited quantities in Miami, London, Seoul and Taipei Clubhouses

Sergio Higuita, EF Pro Cycling

EF Pro Cycling Pro Team Bib Shorts II

The only choice for race day. These bib shorts are tried and tested, from the top step of the cobbled Classics to stage wins at Grand Tours. Raced throughout the season by the riders of EF Education First Pro Cycling, these bibs are the ultimate in comfort and performance. Redesigned and refined endlessly over the years, our latest iteration is finely tuned for a competitive advantage yet highly durable to withstand the chaos of the pro peloton, from Belgian cobbles to alpine summits.

Buy now

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