Darwin Atapuma delivered the first European victory for the Colombia Coldeportes team on the 177.5km closing stage of the Giro del Trentino from Castelletto Di Brenzone to the Passo Pordoi today. Climbing through snow and freezing temperatures, Atapuma pounced on the final climb, soloing in the final half kilometer to win ahead of his fellow Colombian Carlos Betancur (Acqua & Sapone).
"I grew up following [Luis Alberto "Lucho"] Herrera's great wins at the Tour de France, and it's a dream to win on such a climb," Atapuma said in a press release. "I can guess how happy they are in Colombia right now..."
Growing up on a farm, the 24-year-old who has come up through Colombia's development program said he is no stranger to fatigue because of his upbringing. "It's an amazing result, as it's also the first ever for my team, and I want to dedicate it to our manager Claudio Corti, because he made this great project possible."
Corti said the win was a "well-deserved success for a great guy", and will be a morale boost for a team that has struggled to get results in Europe so far this season. "Helping these riders to adjust to European racing isn't easy, but they are doing their very best, and results are starting to show up. I firmly believe our Team will quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting new players in international cycling," Corti said.
The final stage started dry, but the weather deteriorated in the latter part of the stage. By the time the peloton reached the Passo Pordoi, snow and sleet were punishing the riders. It's not exactly the kind of weather a Colombian would be accustomed to, but Atapuma, known as "El Puma" had no problem with the cold.
"It was very cold, but El Puma knew he had the right legs to go for it. He wanted to attack with 1 km to go, but then he opted to wait more, and that was probably the winning choice," said team director Oscar Pellicioli.
Italian Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Bardiani) won the overall classification and finished third on the stage.