Team Barloworld's Mauricio Soler has received plenty of praise since his Stage 9 victory, including congratulations from France's President, Nicolas Sarkozy, on the podium. But it was a phone call from the Colombian's homeland that came as the biggest shock, with the Colombia's president personally calling to congratulate the 24 year-old on his success.
"Mauricio, my compliment," started the call. "I'm Alvaro Uribe Velez, Colombia's President...I was engaged today in an official meeting in Medellin, but I was informed about your extraordinary performance and I have wished to express immediately my joy!"
Soler stormed to yesterday's finish in Briançon with a 38 second gap over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Australian Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), giving his Professional Continental squad a massive boost following its wildcard entry in the prestigious race. "I'm honoured to receive your compliments, and to have given some moment of happiness to all my compatriots," responded Soler to the president's comments. "It was a really hard race, Mr President, I'm feeling so tired."