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The Cycling Superhero of South America

The Cycling Superhero of South America WSJ


Upon spotting Nairo Quintana training in the Andes Mountains for the upcoming Tour de France, a teenager on a dented bicycle chased down the cycling star and kept pace for 20 miles. Impressed, Quintana fetched a spare uniform from his support car and gave it to the youngster.

As Quintana pulled away on a tooth-grinder of a slope, David Ardila, 16, exhausted but thrilled, said: “Everyone who rides wants to be like him.”

This part of the world has produced outstanding cyclists before, but not like this pint-size climbing expert. Quintana, a 5-foot-7, 130-pound Colombian who often attacks on the steepest ascents, is bidding to become the first South American to win the Tour de France, which begins July 4. He has been tabbed by oddsmakers as the second-best bet to win this year’s Tour, after British star and 2013 winner Chris Froome.

“I dream of yellow,” Quintana recently said, referring to the color of the race leader’s jersey.

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