After many years of absent, there will again be a UCI held cycling race in Colombia with World Tour teams on the startlist. We are talking about the new Colombia oro y paz race, which will be held from 6 until 11 February. The race is financed by the government, to celebrate the peace agreement with the FARC, and show this to the world.
In cycling history, Colombia had some famous races before with some European and American professionals on the start list. The legendary Fausto Coppi tried several times in COlombia, but never succeeded. There was however one American, or Gringo as they call it here, that had success in Colombia. It was Andy Hampsten of the 7-Eleven team that won the Premio Caracol, and with that the hearts of the Colombians.
Back to the The Oro y Paz, it was presented in Colombia with the current generation of Colombian cycling stars like Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana and Fernando Gaviria. These riders will also be present on the start list of the UCI 2.1 race. Some of these riders will start their season in San Juan, Argentina before going to Colombia, such as Fernando Gaviria.
February is the official start of the cycling season in Europe with famous spring classic races such as de Omloop and Kuurne-brussel-kuurne. But for the riders to get in shape, they usually go to the warmer countries such as Oman, Dubai and Argentina. The Oro y Paz race fits in perfectly since it will be great temperatures for racing.
The race will kick of on the 6th of February with a 100 kilometer long criterium in the streets of Palmira, in the region Valle de Cauca. It will be a perfect occasion for the sprinters to show who is the fastest, with local Colombian Fernando Gaviria as the top favorite. In total there will be 6 stages that lead the race from the Valle de Cauca region to the heart of the Coffee hub, known as the Eje Cafetero. The race will finish in Manizales, and for sure the winner must have some great climbing legs to compete with the local Escarabajos.
There will be 4 World Tour teams on the start, and not surprising, all have Colombian riders on their roster. This way, the locals can catch a glimpse of the superstars like Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran and the brothers Henao.
World Tour (4):
-EF Education First: Urán, Brown, Howes, Martínez, Cardona y Carthy
-Movistar: Nairo Quintana
-Quick-Step Floors: Fernando Gaviria
-Sky: Sergio Henao, Henao, Bernal, López, Castroviejo y Geoghegan Hart
-Manzana Postobón: Duarte, Molano, Parra, Bol, Osorio y Reyes
-Burgos-BH: Langellotti, Sessler, González, López, Merino y Robredo.
-Medellín: Sevilla, Mendoza, Chalapud, Caicedo, Montoya y Paredes.
National selection (4):
-Colombia: Pantano, Atapuma, Flórez, Rodríguez, Ramírez y Arango
The stages of the Colombia Oro y Paz:
1ª: Tuesday 6 February: Palmira-Palmira (100 km)
2ª: Wednesday 7: Palmira-Santander de Quilichao-Palmira (184 km)
3ª: Thursday 8: Palmira-Riopaila-Buga (164 km)
4ª: Friday 9: Buga-Pereira-Dos Quebradas- El Tambo (150 km)
5ª: Saturday 10: Pereira- Cartago- Armenia- Salento (161 km)
6ª: Sunday 11: Armenia- Tebaida- Pereira- Manizales (184 km)