“It has been the best finish of all the Leyendas.” That’s how the Colombian cyclist Juan Jacob Cerón summarised the arrival to Neira on Thursday, August 2nd during the fourth stage of the Leyenda del Dorado 2018.
He and Jesús Garzón crossed the finish line in second place in the Open Male category. “It has been the most exciting and toughest competition that I have ever been to,” added Garzón.
The cyclists were not wrong. The people left their homes for the best seats in the house and witnessed the competition arriving to the town for the first time ever. The ascent up to the square, a true cycling ‘ramp,’ tested the legs of all the cyclists, however, it also allowed them to see at first hand the raw excitement and passion of the spectators who were in the presence of international champions, like the Germans Karl Platt and Tim Boehme, among others.
Neira came to a stand still for the most important mountain bike stage race in Colombia. The students didn’t miss it either and waved flags while cheering the legends on their way to the finish. The arrival to the Plaza de Bolívar was the award after 75 km and a start from Salamina at 7:00 a. m. that also passed the town of Aranzazu.
The stars of the day were Austrian Alban Lakata and Czech Kristian Hynek who won the stage in the Male Elite category in 3 hours, 14 minutes and 4 seconds. The leaders in the General Classification, Portuguese Tiago Ferreira and Dutch Hans Becking, arrived in second place, clocking 3 hours, 14 minutes and 43 seconds, while the Colombians Héctor Leonardo Páez and Diego Alfonso Arias, winners of the Salamina Cross Country circuit, completed the podium in a time of 3 hours, 22 minutes and 44 seconds.
There was a tight battle between Colombians Yosiana Quintero and Leidy Mera, and Venezuelan Liliana Uzcátegui and Colombian Mónica Calderón in the Female Elite category, but the Colombians were a bit stronger on the final climb and were screamed on by the locals, helping them to stage victory with a time of 4 hours, 28 minutes and 59 seconds.
The Legends didn’t have enough words to describe a race that has gathered 250 cyclists from 21 countries. Juan Jacob Cerón, a participant in all three Leyendas, expressed how the race has evolved and described it as “epic.” Portuguese Valério Ferreira commented that it is incredible and spectacular because of the landscapes and Colombian people, whilst American Nick Gould said, “It is the best moment that I have experienced in mountain biking. It was a spiritual experience”.
La Leyenda, finishes on Saturday in the Plaza de Bolívar of Manizales at 10am and will have its Queen Stage on Friday that will be decisive for the final podium. The cyclists will face a route of 108 km, departing and arriving to Termales El Otoño. They will pass by El Pindo and Río Claro in Villamaría and will ascend the slopes of Nevado del Ruiz, to an altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level.
Results: Stage 4, Jungle
1. Alban Lakata (AT) y Kristian Hynek (CZE): 03:14:04
2. Tiago Ferreira (PRT) y Hans Becking (NLD): 03:14:43
3. Héctor Leonardo Páez (COL) y Diego Arias (COL): 03:22:44
4. Joris Massaer (BEL & José Dias (PRT): 03:26:01
5. Karl Platt (DEU) & Tim Bohme (DEU): 03:33:13
1. Yosiana Quintero (COL) y Leidy Mera (COL): 04:28:59
2. Mónica Calderón (COL) y Liliana Uzcátegui (VEN): 04:29:38
3. Celina Carpinteiro (PRT) y Sandra Jorda (ESP): 04:40:26
4. Ilda Pereira (PRT) y Mayalen Noriega (ESP): 04:41:06
1. Oscar Flórez (COL) & Carlos Serna (COL): 03:47:47
2. Juan Ceron (COL) & Jesus Garzón (COL): 03:51:50
3. Valerio Ferreria (PRT) & Tiago Silva (PRT): 04:01:59
1. Jorge Valencia (COL) & Guiovanny Cantor (COL): 04:07:17
2. Ignace Spruyt (BEL) & Abraao Azevedo (BRA): 04:07:44
3. Arllery Quintero (PRT) & Andrés Montes (COL): 04:10:46
1. Adolfo Buratovich (ARG) & Lorenzo Milesi (CH): 05:05:46
2. Eugenio Pineda (COL) & Carlos Rendón (COL): 06:00:11
3. Jeff Taylor (CAN) & Robert Rennie (CAN): 07:08:58
1. Angy Espinosa (COL) & Jorge González (COL): 05:08:52
2. Cristian Barberan (COL) & Jorge González (COL): 05:16:53
3. Zammy Daza (COL) & Carlos Salazar (COL): 05:23:34