Colombia’s Nairo Quintana made cycling history in this year’s Tour de France, finishing the prestigious race in second position on Sunday after which he was crowned both King of the Mountains and best rider under 25.
Quintana’s results in France are the best in Colombia’s cycling history; never before a rider from the South American country was able to finish second and bring home two jerseys.
The Boyaca-born cyclist came to his historic result after a more-than-solid three weeks of cycling. Quintana finished 47th in the first stage and slowly but steadily climbed to third place.
Especially in the mountainous last week of the 100th edition of the Tour, the rider steadily stayed in front of the race.
On Saturday, the Colombian surprised all competitors by winning the penultimate stage and securing both the second spot in the general classification and the polka-dot jersey.
The white jersey had been on Quintana’s shoulders on and off in the tour as the relatively inexperienced Colombian systematically outperformed all other younger riders.
In his native Colombia, Quintana slowly rose to prominence in the national media as his performance in the Tour proved more and more successful. By Saturday, all national media hailed the son of a vegetable vendor for his outstanding performance.
Weekly Semana said Quintana became ” the present and future” of Colombian cycling and radio station Caracol stressed Quintana had become “the best Colombian in the history of the Tour.”
The Colombians’ success also demanded the respect of Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme who said Quintana’s performance in the Alps “is important, because Colombia represents the legend of climbers.”