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Betancur: I wanted to race like Joaquim Rodríguez

Alasdair Fotheringham
April 18, 2013, 06:02,
April 18, 2013, 07:22
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 18, 2013
La Flèche Wallonne
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) makes his attack at the base of the Mur de Huy

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) makes his attack at the base of the Mur de Huy

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Colombian launched surprise early attack on Mur De Huy

Probably the least expected part of La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday came when Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) launched an all-out attack at the foot of the Mur de Huy. Certainly to judge by the lack of reaction in the peloton, nobody had been expecting such a move, and the Colombians' tearing up of the script worked so well that Betancur - second in a recent ultra-steep finish behind Sergio Henao (Sky) in the Tour of the Basque Country - stayed ahead for far longer than expected.

Indeed, there were even gasps of "he's won, he's won" from the Flèche Wallonne press room as Betancur failed to crack on the ever steepening slopes of the Mur. It was only at the last moment, with less than 150 metros to go, that the Colombian climber cracked slightly, dropping to third.

"I saw how [Joaquim] Rodríguez won last year and I wanted to imitate it," was how Betancur described his attack, although in fact he may have not watched 'Purito' in last year's Flèche, given the Spaniard attacked with about 300 metres to go.

"I thought I was going to win, it was only about 100 metres from the finish when they finally got past me," he said. "This kind of result is very important for me and for Colombia."

Betancur said that the 2013 boom in Colombian cycling, rising from sixth to second overall in the nations classification in the UCI WorldTour ranking, was due to the "biological passport. [Anti-doping] controls are far tighter nowadays and riders like us who live at altitude have more of an advantage."

Seventh in the Tour of the Basque Country this April, Betancur says that he's convinced that he's made the right move out of Italy and into Ag2R this season, despite the lack of any tradition of South American racers in the team. "They've given me a great chance and now I'm able to take part in some top WorldTour races. It's a big step forward."


Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
"nobody had been expecting such a move" yeah, because it's a stupid move that many have tried and all failed at doing... "with less than 150 metros to go, that the Colombian climber cracked slightly, dropping to third"... he didn't crack slightly... he was pedaling squares and almost came to a hault.. he had just had built up a big gap that others needed to close down and they ran out of road... if he had waited 'til the point where Gilbert went he might have been fighting for the win...
avantage More than 1 year ago
Why say it was a stupid move? He certainly profited from it. He was noticed, and almost pulled it off. Others faltered much sooner previously and never had such a big gap.
fujisst More than 1 year ago
Arm-chair expert. You've been exposed. The fact that he raced to win deserves all the accolades in my book. He went after it - he almost succeeded too. Wait a little longer and come in 8th. Comment is ridiculous.
Mark Schwitau More than 1 year ago
That bro has been racing well all season. Perhaps he could have sat in for just a bit longer, but well done for having the guts and confidence to attack on one of the hardest and most prolific climbs in cycling history. Around 100 other guys didn't have the guts to attack ..... and they didn't win either.
Zweistein More than 1 year ago
Too many riders race to place well, without really trying to win. Jacky Durand had a pretty good career for going on "stupid attacks" while not being exceptionally talented.
Alfredo Castaño Amaris More than 1 year ago
It is not as if Betancur had finished 30th or something because he attacked so early in the climb. The move was probably as intelligent as it was unexpected and it gained him a podium place over 185 other cyclists. Great job and exciting racing!
Murali Parameswaran More than 1 year ago
Sometimes, to win, you must take risks. to have tried and failed, is much better than to have failed to try. These are the type of riders we actually need in the sport.
BAD_44 More than 1 year ago
well said
Alpe73 More than 1 year ago
Colombian panache. They've made for an exciting spring.
BAD_44 More than 1 year ago
obviously he attacked 200 meters too soon, but he nearly pulled it off and hats off to a gutsy move that made for an exciting finish. Hey Terrence, what was your result, can't seem to find your name anywhere? Must've cracked. Don't belittle a rider for a courageous, aggressive attack that landed him on the podium and almost won him the race.