Cyclist Australia

Cycling’s new home

Perhaps it’s something in the water. Perhaps it’s the training roads that soar up high among the clouds. For decades the world has been mystified by how the escarabajos – the beetles – of Colombia can be so adept at scaling the most challenging climbs on the world stage, leaving their European competitors in their wake.

And in Colombia itself, the legendary exploits of cyclists from Martín ‘Cochise’ Rodriguez more than half a century ago to historic Tour winner Egan Bernal last July have built a passion for the bicycle among its people that can easily rival that of their counterparts along the cobbles of Belgium or the switchbacks of the Alps and Dolomites.

Driving up the winding road in the mountains above Bogotá, the nation’s capital, the sounds of cowbells and animated chatter of Spanish commentators on Colombian radio fill the air. Anxious fans have lined the roads for hours, like they have all week. They’re waiting for the riders of the peloton to arrive, while the try frantically to

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