Nairo Quintana has been given a hero's welcome in Colombia after his victory at the Vuelta a Espana. The Movistar rider spoke at a press conference and then paraded through Bogota on an open-top bus. Movistar promoted the event with the #GraciasNairo hashtag, with thousands of Colombians out on the streets to salute Quintana.
The 26-year-old beat Chris Froome (Team Sky) to win the Vuelta thanks to an aggressive attack and victory on stage ten to Lagos de Covdonga. He defended the red leader's jersey and managed to respond to Froome's comeback after the Briton dominated the time trial stage and reduced his deficit to just over a minute. Quintana has now won the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta, but has yet to get the better of Froome in July and win the Tour de France.
Immediately after his Vuelta win, the Movistar team announced that Quintana had extended his contract with the Spanish squad until the end of 2019 season. Movistar also renewed its sponsorship contract until the end of 2019.
"I did not expect this special welcome, thanks for all the emotions," Quintana said during his cavalcade after also being given the Civil Order of Sporting Merit by Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogota.
"We have won the red jersey, now we hope to get the yellow, we are working for that. We are working to make the whole country happy and satisfied. It fills me with joy to see so many people cycling and waving from the windows of their houses. I have no words to thank all of them for all the support. We can only hope to continue enjoying things for many more years."
Quintana's parade ended in the Simon Bolivar Park where thousands of Colombians gave him a warm welcome and a final tribute. Quintana is not expected to race again this season after starting his 2016 season at the Tour de San Luis in January and racing for 74 days.
Agradezco el trabajo de todos los que hicieron posible este bonito homenaje. Gracias BogotÃ¡. pic.twitter.com/lstcML7Qxfâ NairoQuinCo (@NairoQuinCo) September 18, 2016