The biggest winner in the Mallorca Challenge may well have been a rider who finished 117th in one race in the series and didn't finish any others. The race marked the return of Andrey Amador (Movistar) to the peloton, after a brutal attack in his home of Costa Rica the end of December, which nearly ended not only his career but also his life.
The 24-year-old was riding alone in the mountains on December 29, when he realised two cars with tinted windows seemed to be too interested in him. He finally rounded a corner to find the road blocked by one of the cars, with the other car not far behind it. He turned on to a dirt road, only to be followed by an SUV.
He abandoned his bike and tried to escape on foot, he told Marca.com. They followed him, shooting at him and hitting him with what turned out to be a Taser gun.
"Suddenly I heard another shot and everything went black. When I opened my eyes, I was lying in the riverbed. Everything was dark and could only see from the light of the moon. I hurt all over."
Still, Amador managed to get up, get back to the road and walk “a few kilometres” to a store, where he called his brother. "The incident occurred about one o'clock and when I woke up and the clock showed it was past 19.00 hours."
That night at home, after throwing up a number of times, he went to hospital. He had suffered bruised kidneys and a collapsed lung. The next few days were very difficult, but “I just thought to recover."
After two weeks he was able to return home to some unexpected news: the robbers demanded a ransom for his bike. He refused to pay and eventually they abandoned the bike. A homeless man found it and sold it to the bike shop Amador uses. "Now I have at home as if it were a trophy," he said.
Now, some six weeks after the attack, he has made his return to cycling.