With the 2020 professional road race season now under way, we journey to Colombia to witness a team’s domination, passionate cycling fans, and lifelong dreams fulfilled.
After a week of racing at an elevation above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet), Colombian Sergio Higuita stood atop the podium with teammates Dani Martinez and Jonathan Caicedo at each side in 2nd and 3rd overall.
EF Education First dominated the third edition of the Tour of Colombia. The team obliterated the opening team time trial in stage 1, besting their nearest rival by forty-five seconds, and secured the top spots on general classification (GC).
“What we saw today was incredible. Incredible teamwork by the team in Colombia, incredible effort by the riders. I’m so happy for Dani on the stage win and Sergio taking the overall,” CEO Jonathan Vaughters said from team camp in Girona, Spain. “That was instinctive, impressive racing all week in Colombia.”
Newly crowned Colombian road race national champion, Sergio Higuita, made his mark on the race in stage 4 with an emphatic win on the first mountain stage. The finish-line surge put Sergio in the race leader’s jersey, taking over from teammate Jonathan Caicedo who moved to third, while Dani Martinez climbed into second on GC.
For the sixth and final stage, the race moved to the city of Bogota with a decisive finishing climb up Alto del Verjón at 3,290 meters (10,790 feet). With a stranglehold on the podium, EF went into the stage motivated to defend all three positions. The team set a blistering pace and whittled the peloton down to a select group of climbers which included four EF riders.
“We have three Colombians on our team, and they must be really proud racing in front of their home crowd. It’s surprising how many cheers I get here,” Tejay van Garderen said. “I’m not Colombian, but they just have such a passion for cycling that anyone racing here, they will chant for you.”
In the final two kilometers of the climb, and the race, only five riders remained at the front, three of them in the colors of EF. At five hundred meters to go, Dani Martinez attacked with Sergio tucked on his wheel so closely that the two would finish on the same time for the stage with a one, two finish. Caicedo finished just 14 seconds back to secure third-place overall and the full podium sweep for EF.
“It’s been such an awesome week the way the race has unfolded and the way the team has worked relentlessly for us has been phenomenal,” said Martínez, who won the final stage. “I can’t thank Rigo, Tejay and Lawson enough. What an amazing way to start the season and it makes it all the more special that it’s my home country.”
When it was all over in Colombia, the EF Education First Pro Cycling team won three stages, the overall title with Sergio Higuita, the award for the best-placed team, and honors for the best young rider. Rigoberto Uran made his triumphant return to racing after last season’s crash and helped captain the team to an incredible podium sweep in the GC — all in a home race for our three Colombian riders.
“Last year I was riding for another team in Europe, but I was dreaming that I would one day race in front of my home country,” Higuita said. “Last year it was only a dream to one day win this race. It’s an incredible feeling to cap off all the hard work the team did this week.”