Israel Ochoa, one of Colombia’s leading cyclists has pulled out of a race after receiving the stunning news that his father had died — followed by his mother one hour later.
Israel Ochoa wept when told of their deaths Saturday in the middle of the Clasica de Cundinamarca race. “I am destroyed,” he said.
Jairo Enrique Rodriguez, spokesman for Colombia’s cycling federation, says Ochoa’s father, 71-year-old Israel Antonio, died of cancer and his mother, 69-year-old Maria de Jesus, passed away from a stroke an hour later.
The 45-year-old Ochoa won the Boyaca Classic last week. He also won stages and the title of mountain champion in races in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela. He won gold medals in Colombia’s National Games in 2000, 2004 and 2008.